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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Faith

Javier and I bicycled out of Missoula a couple weeks ago, across the Idaho Panhandle on the Coeur d'Alene bike path.  Now we're in Kennewick, Washington, getting ready to roll west along the Columbia River to Portland.  We hope to be in Portland before September 25th. 

Not much computer time & this blogger thingy doesn't function well at this library.  So this is brief and without bells & whistles.

The weather has been prime and the beauty indescribable.  We've had our physical ups and downs, as well as our mental and spiritual.  And that's what gives us muscle and endurance and health - physical, mental, and spiritual.

We've been talking a lot about faith. 
This trip and this lifestyle is all about faith.

Faith has a bad rap.  Understandably so.  Lots of folks who claim faith bastardize the whole concept, and there are tons of books by clever minds denouncing faith as the dark age of humanity.

Faith is usually thought of as blind belief, based on a creed.  Repeat the creed and say you believe it, and not let anything stand in the way of your creed.  Blow up things and people and bulldoze the earth for "faith".

But faith is trust.  Faith is subjective.  Only you can see it in your mind's eye.  Therefore, you can pretend, deceive others into thinking you have faith.

But faith, unlike science and theology, is the only thing you can truly know, can truly prove.  It is a "hunch" that you know, beyond thought, beyond mind.

Faith is the basis of not only religion and theology, but of all of life, all of science, all art, all creativity.  Without faith, nothing would come into being.  Nothing.  Am I simply presenting blind theory here?  Or is what I am saying directly provable?  Am I talking belief, or am I presenting gnosis, knowing?

Consider every scientific theory and discovery, invention, work of art, or social innovation that ever existed.  First it was faith.  First the scientist, the inventor, the innovator had a hunch, a belief.  A belief, unproven.  But their faith was so strong, something they saw that nobody else could see, that they had the determination to stick with their hunch, even through being called fools, even having zero support of any other human being, until their hunch was proven.  That is faith.  A seed has faith.  A mustard seed, a cottonwood seed.  A sperm, an egg, a conceived thought of the mind, enduring through natural selection.  Faith that does not prove itself, faith that does not do, against all odds, is not faith.  Faith is the essence of every particle in the universe.  And this is the only thing you can prove and know empirically yourself.

It once dawned on me, the verse my dad often quoted, that faith truly is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  It truly is substance, the only substance you can surely grasp.  And it truly is evidence, the only evidence you can surely know.

Yes, it is subjective to only you, which is why you can pretend and fool folks for a while.  But faith is not truly faith until you are driven, absolutely driven, to prove it, against all odds, against all opinions, against all ridicule, against all flattering false praise.  Then your faith becomes the gift to everyone. 



111 comments:

  1. Oh, my...When you get on a roll, you really get on a roll.

    I love how your life choices help you to see radically wonderful twists on conventional "wisdom." You create and spread so much joy and freedom and relief.

    Thank you for sharing all that you do. And Godspeed to you on your journey!

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    1. Thank you, Daniel. I really appreciate your words. A reality check from my illusions of what life is. Just wanted to tell you that I'm a bit closer to living without money. Sold my house, downsized big time, should have all debts paid off in 3 yrs, in the meanwhile am setting up my homestead, God willing. Semper fi, SFT

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  2. Greetings from the forests of rold in Denmark, where I live, meditate, fish, forage...yes faith is a strange thing, and you first come to experience when you actually do what the old masters say: Buddha, Jesus, Francis....it is so simple and yet people are making it so complicated...thanks for your inspiration - hope we meet some time...your are welcome here in the forests of rold

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  3. So is what you're saying, "Faith is a virtue"? Faith in what?

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  4. Do you have any plans while in Portland?

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  5. Faith, hope that we don´t know, is the ultimate energy that keeps us going, because "you never know".
    Great introspection Daniel. Thank you for sharing and for doing what you´re doing.

    A note: it would be very interesting for everyone if you guys in the tribe kept a diary. :)

    Saludos from Helsinki, Finland

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    1. I second the motion to keep journals. Would be highly educational and valuable. --Alexa R. K.

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    1. It doesn't have faith. It simply does what it is programmed to do. You are anthropomorphizing it.

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    2. Suelo doesn't usually use anthropomorphism, so I was confused. Thank you for the clarification. :)

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  7. Programmed? You're mechanomorphizing it...

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  8. To simply be is to have faith. A seed simply is. What comes through the seed is its "program", not any decision of the seed. The seed does nothing by its own will (ego). This is faith. Not any ego, unless you want to "anthropomorphize" the seed and give it an ego like us. Unlike the seed, we have the challenge of ego blocking faith, blocking our potential, and that's what makes our lives interesting, fun, and painful, too.
    Who, what, or how was the seed "programmed?" Have faith in that.

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  9. If you find yourself in Hood River and need a place to sleep, stop by the local bike shop (Discover) and ask how to get in touch with Gary.

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  10. Suelo, if you're in Portland soon it would be awesome if we could grab a coffee and chat!

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  11. I have to respectfully disagree brother Daniel. Faith is the absence of reason. Any dictionary definition will tell you that. In my view, the best book ever written on this is "The Age of Reason" by one of the American Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine. If there is a god (in the monotheistic sense), this supreme being gave us reason. Then it behooves us to use that reason and abandon faith. In the interest of full disclosure, I an an agnostic who fall along the Zen/Taoist view of the world.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. the only reason comes from faith. Every reasonable theory and discovery that ever came about started with irrational, intuitive faith. Every single one. Faith is the Mother of Rational thinking. Rational thinking stems from and is dependent upon faith, not visa versa. Know yourself ((gnosis) and prove it for yourself.

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    3. In other words, every discovery, every rational thought starts with a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a belief. Having the courage to put the your belief (hypothesis) to the proof is faith. Courage is irrational, the Mother of rational. Courage is faith, faith is courage. Courage is trust. 'Trust' and 'Truth' are of the same root.

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    4. To Suelo: you’re wrong when you typed, "A hypothesis is a belief." The definition of 'belief' is "a feeling of being sure that [...] something is true" (1). The definition of 'hypothesis' is "a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test its logical or empirical consequences" (2). By comparing the two definitions, it is clear that a hypothesis accepts two outcomes: having support from the proof and not having support from the proof--while a belief accepts only one outcome: having support from the proof. In other words, when a person has a belief of something, he/she assumes that something is true while when a person has a hypothesis of something, he/she tests if that something is true or false.

      Also, I would like to point out that everything you typed about courage is just wrong. To be honest, I do not feel like fully explaining why at this particular moment, but just know that the definition of ‘courage’ is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty,” nothing more, nothing less (3). Courage is not irrational, faith, nor trust. It can interact with irrationality, faith, and trust, but it is not those things.

      1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belief?show=0&t=1380749063
      2. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypothesis
      3. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/courage

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  12. Suelo, you always have a place to stay in the Washington, DC metropolitan area!

    Love,
    Geronimo

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  13. Suelo, I said "Peace Pilgrim" this morning when the 3 of you visited my faith community. I hope you felt warmly welcomed. Had a ice chat with Derek, but there are too many Derek Wilsons on FB so I don't know how to connect. You can tell him I'm Elizabeth Fischer in Portland and if he would like, he could Friend me. Wish I had a chance to chat with you. I plan to follow your blog and hope you will write more about your journey. Blessings to you, Javier & Derek!

    Elizabeth, from Multnomah Friends Meeting

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  14. I respectfully disagree Daniel. Every reasonable theory does not come from faith.It comes from a hunch or an educated guess. I urge you to look up the word "faith" in the dictionary. We need another word in the English to describe what you are talking about, but it is NOT faith. Faith is the absence of reason, nothing more;nothing less.

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    1. I'm sorry, but you're wrong about the definition of 'faith.' Merriam Webster's dictionary claims 'faith' can be defined as "strong belief or trust in someone or something" (1).

      Suelo's proposition that all scientific theories derive from trust (or faith, as he puts it) all the time is questionable. I think trust can play a part in it. For example, when a scientist formulates a hypothesis, he/she is willing to trust that the hypothesis can be correct. However, it is just as easy to say that the scientist also distrusts the hypothesis. In the end, it all comes down to the experiments, data, and/or reason for the support.

      1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith?show=0&t=1380747674

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    2. I just watched a free screening of 'Kon Tiki,' about Thor Heyerdahl's voyage to prove his theory. a main premise of the movie is how the empirical scientific method is lost to the established scientific community.

      My 2 favorite Heyerdahl quotes:

      "Have faith."

      and,

      "This is about something greater than us."

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  15. suelo what did you read or what lead you to do more searching into mammon?

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  16. You are redefining faith, Ibkranger.



    : strong belief or trust in someone or something

    : belief in the existence of God : strong religious feelings or beliefs

    : a system of religious beliefs


    Someone isn't going to propose an hypothesis on nothing more than a hunch. They are going to have a reason for their hypothesis or they will have a high chance that trying to prove it is going to be a waste of time. It will also be extraordinarily probable that they will be made a fool and an embarrassment to themselves. So, they have strong faith that there is evidence to support their hypothesis and that presenting it to the scientific community is going to pay off. That's what faith is, a strong confidence in someone or something, so much so you are willing to put your trust in it.

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  17. “the scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages.” (Albert Einstein)

    Scientific orthodoxy, identical in spirit to religious orthodoxy, has no clue of the discovery process, because it is stuck in scripture (infallible dictionaries, philosophical & scientific texts, Bibles).

    It's like describing the sunrise as you watch it and feel its warmth. The scientific and religious orthodoxythink you irrational as they consult their sacred scriptures (dictionaries, philosophical treaties. There is nothing to argue with. The sun rises and I feel its warmth. The faith of creativity is the faith of creativity, in the human, in the infant, in the seed. It is the driving force of all nature, creation. The human spirit and personality is not a supernatural aberration of nature. It is nature, under the same laws. There is nothing to argue with. Put aside your sacred texts and look at the only thing you can ever know, within.

    I'm describing faith and science defined way before any dictionary or religious or scientific orthodoxy, and the faithful know exactly what I am talking about, as does the infant, who hasn't yet been deceived by symbol (words, definitions).

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    1. I see that mirage and other optical, auditory and sensory illusions and trust my senses that they are leading me right. Amen, heart. Abandon your trust to them......

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  18. I am not redefining "faith" anonymous. Belief if God is the absence of reason.

    Daniel, I understand and appreciate your attempt to incorporate the "beginner's mind" argument. As a Zen Buddhist/Taoist, I understand that idea, but beginners mind is not faith. They are two different concepts. Had your initial post substituted the words "beginner's mind" in place of faith, I would agree.

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    1. No, not really, jbkranger. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool"

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    2. I'm astonished folks want to argue with what can't be argued with here.
      The beginner's mind is faith. You must first believe in Buddhism to be Buddhist. Everything in life you do or say you must first believe in. Everything. You must believe your leg will carry you to take a step. Faith is trust, lack of doubt, that which you take refuge in. In the Buddhist monastery they warned me of 5 hindrances (like "deadly sins") to the Way, pointing out one often blocking me was doubt, lack of faith - a problem for westerners. Funny how westerners strip Buddhism of its essence, faith, in order to make it palatable for us. "I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha", the 3 Jewels, the beginning foundation all schools of Buddhism, including Zen, which you meditate upon as you bow, yes bow, in utter devotion. I have a Zen quote written in my Bible: "Faith is not something that is added to the worldly mind. It is the manifestation of the mind's Buddha nature. One who understands Buddha is a Buddha himself; one who has faith in Buddha is a Buddha himself." (Mahaparinirvana Sutra). Faith is giving up all possessions.
      Shakyamuni stepped out on faith when he gave up all his royal inheritance, to walk into the unknown to become Buddha. Dogen revived faith in a corrupt Buddhism in Japan, reviving the way of not worrying about what you will eat, drink, wear, or find shelter, that all will come if you follow the Way. His Shoboghenzo Zuimonki is like reading Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Likewise, "By faith Abraham... went out, not knowing where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8)
      Paradoxically, True Faith is giving up all you have faith in, all you possess, right down to your own thoughts (all thoughts are beliefs), jumping into the unknown. Having faith in any idea, any image, any conception in the mind is idolatry in the Abrahamic religions. Anything you can sense or think of passes away, fails. If you have faith in that, you will fail with it. True faith is in the unfailing, beyond mind, image. "God" is what goes beyond image, idea, and even your idea of God and what you *think* of as Christianity or Judaism or Islam must be given up. This is why you can't be a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Jew until you give up all labels, ideas, and simply trust, jumping into the unshakeable, unknown emptiness. This is why people think Buddhism is atheistic, because it believes in giving up all concepts of God, which is really the essence of all true religion. When you give up attachment to semantics, word definitions, you understand faith, the same essence of all relgions, all life. I repeat, faith is the driving essence of all truth, art, creativity, scientific or otherwise, all of life. Faith is life, life is faith.

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    3. Hi Daniel, I'm astonished that everyone is so argumentative too. I love everything you just said and I really needed to hear it. So - if nothing else - thanks - from me and - as always - I love your mind and spirit - gina

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    4. Thanks, gina. But I'm sounding like a damned dogmatist, refusing to hear argument. But my whole point is that it's like watching the sunrise, feeling its warmth, describing it. Then folks look up "sunrise" in the dictionary and academia - and make an argument out of it. Like arguing with a poem, with experience. There can be no argument.

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    5. Surely you have to understand that when you talk about us all having faith you're waving a red flag in front of your non-religious readers faces? Faith is a loaded word with strong religious connotations. Many of us have specifically disavowed being people of faith. It's a bit like a conservative Christian saying to a Hindu that, really, we're all looking for Jesus.

      Sure, the word "faith" has secular usages. Few atheists would object to saying that we trust (have faith in) some people for example (though we'd say we always try to do so to the degree that trust is rationally warranted). But you haven't been using the word in only that limited sense. For example:

      "In other words, every discovery, every rational thought starts with a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a belief. Having the courage to put the your belief (hypothesis) to the proof is faith."

      A hypothesis is not a belief. It's simply a proposition which may be worth putting to the test. A scientist does not need to (and probably out not to) believe in the hypothesis from the outset....down that road lies confirmation bias.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

      You seem determined to broaden the meaning of the word "faith", even in a religious or spiritual sense, to the point that you can force fit us atheists into the faith camp. It's little surprise we object.

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    6. All I'm doing is speaking my heart & my experience. If that's a red flag for folks, that's not my problem. The great thing about doing this blog for no money or no company is I don't have to pander to opinion, change how I feel to get more hits, just speak my heart. I don't give a shit if it means nobody reads the blog any more. It turns off both religious fundamentalists and atheists, both wanting to argue over words and semantics. But I just say what I see and feel, and it feels right.

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    7. We non-religious types aren't going to stop reading your blog because you sometimes say something we strongly disagree with. I certainly won't. Knowing your heart's in the right place mitigates against that.

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    8. Not to make blanket statements... not all atheists & religious fundamentalists like to argue words & semantics, but I get a lot of them. Sometimes I find myself being atheist, sometimes fundamentalist, sometimes a mystic, sometimes an anarchist, but when I label myself either or anything, it closes my mind into a tiny box.

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    9. It not just "words and semantics" we're disagreeing with you about. It's the content of your statements. That's not a personal attack, though I'm getting the impression you're taking it that way. So I'll just wish you well with your continued journey and go back, for now, to reading your thoughts and adventures in silence.

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    10. Doesn't feel like a personal attack. I just keep saying there's nothing to argue... that's all. But this is inspiring me to write an essay on faith and hypothesis, perhaps for the website, since I haven't had much time to discuss this on the road.

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    11. "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." --Aristotle

      --Alexa

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  19. Hey Daniel - where are you guys now? Tell tell ! We love to know!

    gina

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  20. Anonymous, can't just redefine the word "faith" as it has existed in the English language since the Enlightment of the 1770's. Can you prove there is a LORD? No, you can't. It is taken on faith, which is, by definition, the absence of reason.

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  21. All of creation proves there is a LORD. It's irrational to think all of this came about on its own. That is the absence of reason.

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    1. What's irrational about the idea that physical reality has always existed in some form or other? This idea seems just as plausible as God always existing. And, after all, the natural world is rather less speculative a proposition than God.

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    2. The difference is, that you call your speculative hypothesis rational, yet the idea that an Intelligent Being exists eternally, that created this incredibly complex, balanced, purposeful system, is called irrational.

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    3. Ok, I couldn't resist:
      Who decided to define irrational as "untrue"? Music and poetry are irrational. Love is irrational, as is beauty and faith. Rationalism, unbalanced by irrationalism, dissects a flower or a girlfriend, trying to prove the existence of beauty, love, and personality. Again, the irrational existed long before the rational (human thought). Irrational is the mother of the rational! We all know this if we know ourselves. But we're in a left-brain culture refusing to look at itself, denying we came to existence from a mother. We observe everything objectively. Objects have no personality, only existing in the mind. Objects can never ever be known by direct experience, only as *other.*

      Again and again: ironically, the irrational is the only thing we can ever *know* by empirical evidence, because it's the the *only* thing we can ever directly experience! All else is belief, theory: scientific theory and dictionary definitions, none base on totally *direct* experience. Don't *believe* me? Again, I implore you to meditate on this deeply and see for yourself, empirically, irrationally. Or eat some mushrooms :-)

      But rational thought is also good, *when* completed by joining hands with intuition. Take, for example, the western rationalist idea that we are the only forms in the universe with personality, meaning personality spontaneously arose in us from nowhere, against all laws of cause-and-effect, which is both irrational and counter-intuitive intuitive! Take your pick: A) Logically: personality is the essence of our universe, and we are another cause-and-effect manifestation of such personality, or (B) Illogically and counter-intuitively: the universe is simply an impersonal machine and we personalities with feelings spontaneously arose "supernaturally," outside cause-and-effect! Mystics have chosen (A) down through the ages and faced ridicule by both the religious fundamentalists and the scientific rationalists. Religious fundamentalists and scientific rationalists have chosen (B)Which do you choose? Either way, you're stuck with some kind of religious *belief*, whether you deny it or not. Because we don't recognize personality in the other, (animate or inanimate), through our dissection, we think it doesn't exist. And the more we dissect, the more we "prove" personality doesn't exist!

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    4. I believe the term “irrational” implies that it is untrue, because irrationality is not based on reason, order or logic. Faith is also insinuated to be untrue, because it is thought to be based on irrational thinking. It is true that some people believe in God based on tradition, rather than on any empirical evidences. Others believe in Him from personal experience and other empirical proofs. The latter are immovable in their faith. As you reminded us in your eloquently expressed message above, faith is exercised every day by every person. There are many things we assume that we did not research empirically before we put our trust in them. We simply take their truth for granted and believe in them.

      However, I believe rationality is more than just dissection of a flower or a girlfriend, or trying to prove the existence of invisible attributes. It is the ESSENCE of the universe. The universe is intrinsically logical, mathematical, purposeful, orderly---RATIONAL. It might appear to be random or chaotic, but those are simply words to describe what we do not understand.

      This rationality includes music, and even poetry, which are bound by mathematical laws. (For music, seven notes, with accented syllables, orderly rhythms, and balance of harmony, rhythm and melody. When those are missing or unbalanced, the music leans more towards noise. Poetry is the same. The following are excerpts from a Stanford University thesis on poetry.
      11 of 99
      STANFORD
      UNIVERSITY
      Aesthetics and Poetic Order
      Poetic Order reveals why a poem is experienced as whole and alive,
      why a poem is experienced as a poem and not as doggerel
      • Aesthetics is cultural, social, personal, or political, and is experienced separately from Poetic Order
      •Poetic Order determines whether the poem is whole and alive
      a poem of any aesthetics can be beautiful
      a poem without poetic order cannot be beautiful—poetic order is necessary to beauty
      a poem of the “wrong” aesthetics with
      poetic order might be perceived not as beautiful
      but as well-written, well-constructed, etc—in short, as a poem, but as an ugly or
      unappealing one
      13 of 99
      STANFORD
      UNIVERSITY
      Centers
      are those particular identified sets, or systems, which appear within the larger
      whole as distinct and noticeable parts. They appear because they have noticeable distinctness,
      which makes them separate out from their surroundings and makes them cohere, and it is
      from the arrangements of these coherent parts that other coherent parts appear.
      —Christopher Alexander

      The thesis then talks about strong centers, levels of scale, boundaries, alternating repetition, positive space, good shape, local symmetries, deep interlock and ambiguity, contrast, gradients, roughness, echoes, void or the quiet center of a poem, simplicity and inner calm, not separateness.

      These concepts are an integral part of the workmanship Romans 1:20 and Ephesians 2: 10 mention. The Greek word for workmanship is poiema from which we get our English word,“poetry.”

      Ro 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made (poiema), even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

      Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship (poiema) created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

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    5. 59 of 99
      STANFORD
      UNIVERSITY
      A Poem is a Beautiful
      *Te x t
      •Beauty is not prettiness
      •Beauty is aesthetics + poetic order
      •A poem with strong poetic order can take on any form
      •Centers unify our familiar but disjoint craft elements
      •Centers help us focus on relationships between elements within a poem
      •Centers capture the elusive qualities we are so fond of
      •A poem is a text with strong poetic order

      Therefore, yes, we can “experience” the beauty of music or a poem, without knowing the rationality behind them, but it IS the essence of their rationality that makes them beautiful and desirable to experience! Learning this opens up new fields of wonder! When I study the rationality of a thing, I experience it beyond its surface qualities of beauty to an even deeper level of participation and enjoyment!

      So, when you say this is irrational and the irrational is the only thing we can ever know by empirical evidence, it seems it would be better to call it a-rational, or non-thinking. It is not disorganized, incoherent or unsound thinking as irrational suggests, but no thinking, or simply participation, without analysis, in an experience—getting to “know” its surface qualities—a-rational.

      However, like logic, order, and mathematical concepts, love, attraction, and other such qualities of the heart are invisible, yet they are seemingly only experienced. Yet I wager to say that when they are genuinely experienced, they are based on rational thinking. What you believe, whether true or false, is based on what you think, whether those thoughts are rational or irrational. If I think you have qualities valuable to me, my thoughts may be conscious or not, but they nevertheless exist and eventually might be articulated. Based upon those observed or imagined qualities that I think exist in you I will fall in love with you and “experience” the condition of “love.” It is when I become disillusioned by the ACTUAL qualities that exist in you and that I observe and experience empirically, that I will, as millions have done before, fall OUT of love with you! Therefore, love that is based on rationality is more likely to endure.

      Objects are empirically experienced. Thoughts, emotions, theories and hypotheses, all invisible, can be based on rational thinking or unsound and irrational thinking. Intuition is a form of logic or rational thinking. It observes empirical evidence, just as standard logic does, but on several different levels, which enables arrival at a rational conclusion more quickly than someone that makes similar observations by the slower and more methodical method of linear thinking.

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    6. In your presentation of the A) and B) options, you have committed the logical fallacy of Bifurcation. That is, A) and B) are presented as the only two options available to choose from. However, because it is false that there are only two options available, we are thrown into the dilemma of being wrong no matter which we choose. There is at least a 3rd option, C), that the universe REFLECTS the personality and mind of a Great Intelligence, Who is the Ultimate CAUSE.

      Sentient beings each have their own individual personalities that reflect the Great Personality of God, and inanimate objects have incredible beauty and symmetry. There are also the abstractions, which are intangible but which nevertheless pervade the entire universe. For example, consider the Fibonacci sequence, which in itself permeates the entire universe from the chambered nautilus to spiral galaxies. These all reflect the Great Mind of God!

      None of these are God in themselves, having but a fraction of the capabilities of God, but are a reflection of God, the Ultimate First Cause. The deeper you dig and analyze each element of the universe, the more obvious it becomes that it is was the result of a Great Thought. If you don’t dig deeply enough, settling for theories about the surface observations you made and analyzed, you arrive at faulty conclusions, such as God does not exist, or it all came about on its own.

      “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made (poiema), even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”

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    7. Pennie Lee,

      How are you conceiving of causality such that it fits your "Ultimate First Cause" and all that it entails?

      William

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    8. Cause and Effect
      cau•sal•i•ty
      noun \kȯ-ˈza-lə-tē\
      : the relationship between something that happens or exists and the thing that causes it
      : the idea that something can cause another thing to happen or exist
      plural cau•sal•i•ty

      Merriam-Webster - Full Definition of CAUSALITY
      1. A causal quality or agency
      2 The relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated events or phenomena

      Examples of CAUSALITY
      1. Scientists found no causality between the events.
      2. A supreme being is a being that, by definition, has no causality of its own


      Causality is an abstract concept regarding how the Universe functions within the framework of natural law. By natural law I mean the various laws of physics etc. e.g. the ‘Law of Gravity’. By and large these laws, although they can be described, are not fully understood and stand as axioms but all seem to follow the laws of ‘cause and effect’, hence causality.

      It is an intuitive understanding brought on by the experiences of daily living that if something happens it must have been caused to happen by something else. For the more philosophically minded it seems obvious that any cause, in and of itself, must also have been the effect of a prior cause. Taken to the nth degree we must eventually come up against a First Cause. I take this to be God Himself who, by definition, has no causality of His own.

      For many this idea is an extreme stumbling block because, in their world view, everything must have a previously existing cause. Even the most brilliant of minds can reject this and an excellent example is that of Steven Hawking who, in his latest book, announced in so many words that the origin of the universe need not have a need for God as its first cause but that everything could be caused by gravity, a natural law that in itself must have had a cause. It may be that the book was published prior to some recent findings from the CERN collider that showed credible evidence that the elusive Graviton particle may in fact a paired Boson and now we might ask where they came from.

      The answer is, of course demonstrated by a brief note in a relatively recent issue of Scientific American where one physicist was credited with having devised mathematical proof that it is impossible to know everything about the Universe without first having observations from outside the Universe. No one seemed to notice that the proof in itself was, indirectly, indicating that there was something outside of the Universe. What could that be but the First Cause, the Supreme Being who by, definition, has no causality of His own. Furthermore, being apart from this Universe He is not bound by any of its natural laws which, in actuality are mere artifacts of His creation and by which He continues to cause its orderly progression.

      Jamey

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    9. Jamey's my husband, William. He wanted to answer your question and I agreed that he is very qualified to do so. :)

      Delete
    10. Jamey and Pennie Lee,

      Why must we "eventually come up against a First Cause"? If this cannot be shown to be true, it may be an "extreme stumbling block" for good reason.

      Can you say anything else about this "First Cause"?

      William

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    11. “Why must we ‘…eventually come up against a First Cause’?”
      Firstly, the lack of a First Cause flies directly in the face of the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics. Briefly, regarding these laws,
      1. Very basically the 1st law states that energy must be conserved. This means that it can neither be created nor destroyed. Since matter and energy are different aspects of the same thing, e.g. E=mc2, matter can, likewise, be neither created nor destroyed. All that can happen is that their form can be changed.

      2. Again basically, the 2nd law states that for every release of energy there is a net loss of useable energy. e.g. it takes more energy to pump water uphill than that same water will generate flowing down the hill and turning a turbine.

      What this means in our Universe is that nothing, whether matter or energy, can be created out of nothing there must be something that ‘causes’ them into existence. Voila, the First Cause. Again, since He is neither part nor parcel of this Universe He is not bound by the various Laws, including those of Thermodynamics, He can intervene and cancel them such as when Moses saw the burning bush that did not burn up. The First Cause was negating those physical laws for His own purpose at that time and likewise when He was feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with 5 loaves and 2 little fish, and at another time He fed 4,000 with 12 loaves in a similar manner.

      From another point of view His reality can be demonstrated by simply observing creation. Take the rainbow as an example. Light enters a water droplet and is reflected off the rear surface and exits the frontal side but in a spreading manner. The refraction of the light breaks it into the various frequencies that make up the visible spectrum and we see a rainbow in its various colors, i.e. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. These colors were created by the First Cause, as was most people’s ability to see and enjoy them. Now, I propose a thought experiment. Create in your mind a new color, totally unlike anything in the rainbow and not make up by mixing its colors. Can’t be done, we humans can only reproduce what has already been created. Pennie Lee is a wonderful artist but she copies her work from photos. Designers can come up with wonderful artifacts but they are just applying the various laws that already exist. No one can make anything completely new all our work is copied.

      With these things in mind, consider the unlikelyhood of any one person, or group of people, coming up with, not just a new color, but the totally new concept of a just, but loving, everlasting, omnipotent God who created all that there is and yet considers people as more important than the rest of His creation. So much so that He thought them worth dying for?

      Jamey

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    12. William, why would the "First Cause" be an extreme stumbling block if it cannot be proven to be true?

      Delete
    13. Jamey and Pennie Lee,

      First, I am ignorant of the laws of thermodynamics, so I am going to think about this based on what you say and the definitions you give.

      I think you are using a variation of the Cosmological Argument. Here are some of my thoughts:

      This statement-

      "the 1st law states that energy must be conserved. This means that it can neither be created nor destroyed." [Likewise with matter].

      Contradicts this statement-

      "What this means in our Universe is that nothing, whether matter or energy, can be created out of nothing there must be something that 'causes' them into existence. Voila, the First Cause."..."He can intervene and cancel them"..."negating those physical laws for His own purpose".

      And, therefore, they cannot both be true.

      Your first statement says that matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed (in our Universe), and your second statement says your "First Cause" creates and destroys matter and energy at will in our Universe. Either they can be created and destroyed or they cannot be created and destroyed, regardless of who or what is the cause. Calling the cause "God" does not negate the fact that they are, or can be, created and destroyed, according to you.
      -------------------------------
      Our senses are limited - for example, we cannot see something from all possible perspectives - and we will always lack information in the empirical realm. Given that, even if we were both at the Biblical events you describe, we would be uncertain as to causes.
      -----------------------------
      My original question was wanting you to explain how the "First Cause" causes something without being caused, how it thinks - "Great Thought" - and has a mind - "Great Mind" - like us - "a reflection of God" - and has capabilities, all these processes, and all without cause, without using energy, etc. How are his thoughts independent of (i.e. not in part caused by) his capabilities, for example?
      ---------------------------------
      "why would the "First Cause" be an extreme stumbling block if it cannot be proven to be true?"

      I value the truth. If I don't see that a first cause is true, for example, I am not going to accept it. Those who might want me to accept it may say I have an "extreme stumbling block".

      William

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    14. p.s. William:
      I forgot to also mention that the likelyhood of the loving, caring 'God Hypothesis' (i.e. the First Cause we are discussing) arising out of nothing is especially improbable when one considers the fact that it would have arisen in a pain filled world with no anesthetics and precious few truly effective analgesics.
      Jamey

      Delete
    15. Ok, I get what you were saying, now. The supposed "lack of evidence" is the stumbling block to your belief. It was to mine too, but God knew I loved the truth and would respond to it if given enough evidence, so He sent just enough to convince me of His truth and be able to put my trust in Him. :)

      We have tested energy INSIDE of the universe, yes? No one has been able to test it outside of the universe. Therefore, according to the parameters imposed on us by being a part of this universe, we have not been able to create or destroy energy. That does not contradict the premise that God can create or destroy energy, as He is outside of the universe and not subject to its laws.

      Indeed, such a premise fits exactly the description the Bible gives of God, as being omnipotent and above all.

      Delete
    16. Pennie Lee,

      "We have tested energy INSIDE of the universe, yes?[...]That does not contradict the premise that God can create or destroy energy, as He is outside of the universe".

      However, you are saying he is creating and destroying energy inside the universe - aren't the people in Jamey's Biblical stories experiencing the creation or destruction of matter/energy inside the universe? Therefore, it does contradict your 1st Law.
      ---------------------------------
      After reading your reply to Daniel on November 2, 2013, I got the impression that you seemed adept at articulating nuances of you thought. So, though I disagree with the notion of a first cause, I was curious to see how someone as articulate as yourself would explain how a first cause is able to cause things - for example, thoughts, burning bushes, etc. - without being subject to causality itself.

      William

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    17. According to your logic, William, Gerald Ford is subject to the limitations of the cars he built. No? Why not? Because he is outside of and superior to his cars. If God created the laws of the universe, that means He is superior to those laws and has control over them.

      Therefore, God may be creating or destroying energy (or putting it on hold) in violation of the law of energy inside of the universe, but He Himself is not contained by the universe or subject to it, as He is superior to it. The people inside of the universe observed God, who is not contained by the universe, putting the laws of energy on hold, while He accomplished His purposes.

      Delete
    18. Pennie Lee,

      Your comparison of Gerald Ford (did you mean Henry Ford) doesn't apply here because I am only talking about the law you stated and whether or not it has been contradicted.

      Jamey: "Very basically the 1st law states that energy must be conserved. This means that it can neither be created nor destroyed."

      Pennie Lee: "God may be creating or destroying energy (or putting it on hold) in violation of the law"

      You admit that the "law"* is being violated. That is the same as saying it has been contradicted, as I have pointed out -

      William: "Your first statement says that matter and energy cannot be created nor destroyed (in our Universe), and your second statement says your "First Cause" creates and destroys matter and energy at will in our Universe."

      My statement is more or less identical to the quotes above by you and Jamey. Your statement contradicts his statement.
      --------------------------------------------
      Pennie Lee: "If God created the laws of the universe, that means He is superior to those laws and has control over them."

      By what law does this God create and control the laws of the universe?
      -------------------------------------

      You say this being has at least one purpose. Why does it have the purpose it has and not some other purpose?

      William

      *You say "law of energy" this time. I assume we are still talking about the 1st law Jamey mentioned.

      Delete
    19. My baser self likes a good argument, tempted to enter into arguments about God. I've been guilty as the rest. Then I realize such arguments never ever convince anybody of any thing, and, more importantly, don't make an iota of difference in improving people's lives. If anything, they worsen lives. Let your lives (the Spirit) bear witness. Truthful action (Spirit) is the only thing that can confess the Divine Incarnate, because truthful action is the Divine Incarnate, even if a self-proclaimed "atheist" performs it. There is no other way. Love (truthful action) can melt the narrowest mind, but words never will. "...the very works that I do bear witness of me."

      Now should we brace ourselves for more arguing even about this?

      Delete
    20. Suelo,

      Suelo: "My baser self likes a good argument"

      My reasoning self sees the benefits of a good argument. You seem to have a very narrow minded view of discussion.

      Suelo: "I realize such arguments never ever convince anybody of any thing"

      This is not true. Good arguments by wise men have convinced me of many true things. The reasonable respond to reason. Granted, the majority do not respond to reason and they argue for the wrong reasons. We don't have to pander to them. Those who have eyes ought to see, lest they too be dead!

      Suelo: "more importantly, don't make an iota of difference in improving people's lives."

      This too is false. Good arguments have helped improve my understanding of reality and have significantly improved my life.

      Suelo: "If anything they worsen lives."

      The products of a good argument done in the right spirit makes one worse off? Seeing and dropping or exposing a delusion, for example, makes one worse off? Don't give in to that drivel. Good discussion is good.

      Seulo: "Let your lives (the Spirit) bear witness."

      I agree, and words and thoughts are part of our lives.

      Suelo: "Truthful action (Spirit) is the only thing that can confess the Divine Incarnate, because truthful action is the Divine Incarnate"

      Discussion and reasoning aimed at improving understanding are, or can be, truthful actions.

      Suelo: "(truthful action) can melt the narrowest mind, but words never will."

      The words of the great sages have no effect?

      Suelo: "...the very works that I do bear witness of me."

      And so do your words. You are hit and miss on what you proclaim as true. Are you just guessing? Instead of discouraging others, you should perfect your own understanding of reality, of which you are a part. Then you wouldn't feel compelled to call your reasoning side your "baser self", and instead would be at home and at ease in any situation - "The rational nature of man is a spark of the true light; it is the first step on the upward road" - Gautama

      Suelo: "Now should we brace ourselves for more arguing even about this?"

      Let us hope so! Good arguments done in the right spirit. I don't see the need to brace ourselves though.

      William

      Delete
    21. William, that ^^^ is a reply I can agree with! :)

      However, I'm not understanding your questions. If you could clarify them, or I will try to gain some clarity by re-reading them.

      Delete
    22. According to what I understand you to be saying, here is my answer:

      William, I’m not sure what God has done. All I know, is that if He has the power to have created the laws of nature, He has the power to control them.

      Scientists have never observed energy being created or destroyed. Does that mean energy has never been created or destroyed? To say that would be assumptive of conditions of the past that have never been observed. My own hypothesis is that energy flows from the eternal God Himself and therefore, if it cannot be created or destroyed or never was created, this is the reason. This explains its properties. However, if God did indeed create energy, then HE obviously can create or destroy energy.

      However, not I or anyone else can speak dogmatically about God or know anything at all about Him unless He should reveal it to us. Hence the reason I used the word “may” in my hypotheses about God’s treatment of energy.

      I am persuaded that God revealed Himself to us through the Bible, but He did not reveal EVERYTHING about Himself. He did reveal enough to know His basic character and attributes and His plans for our salvation and the reason. If you truly want to know God’s purposes, get into the Bible and read them for yourself! I could tell you what I have absorbed, but why not get in there and see directly for yourself? Then we can discuss what you have discovered!


      Delete
    23. Now, in saying that, William, I'm not saying I don't want to discuss with you any more. It might have come across as that, but I enjoy discussions such as these, so continue on if you please! :)

      Delete
    24. Pennie Lee,

      "Finite - 1.a. having bounds; limited". (thefreedictionary.com)

      Any finite you posit will be subject to cause and effect. The god you posit is finite. How do I know the god you posit is finite? Because you say, "He is outside of the universe".

      William

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    25. I thought I said and if I didn't, I should have said, God is not CONTAINED by the universe. He is superior to the universe. He is not infinite or finite. He is something all together different--eternal---as far as I can understand Him.

      If there is no ultimate cause, then we have infinite regression, which is irrational. Whatever caused the universe cannot be the universe itself, because matter cannot cause itself.

      Delete
    26. That is, matter cannot create itself out of nothing. The universe could not create itself.

      Delete
    27. Pennie Lee,

      What difference are you trying to point out between, "God is not CONTAINED by the universe" and "He is outside the universe"?

      *******************

      What do you think of the law of the excluded middle?

      *******************

      What do you mean by "He is something all together different"? You have already suggested similarities between the god you are positing and his creation. How is that possible if he is completely "all together" different? And could this be said of everything? For example, if we wanted to point out similarities, I could say you and I are both probably made of atoms. If we wanted to point out differences, we could note that you are probably made of an "all together different" set of atoms than my set.

      *****************************

      "If you truly want to know God's purposes, get into the Bible and read them for yourself![…]why not get in there and see for yourself?"


      I see for myself, with or without the Bible. If what it says, or if a particular interpretation of what it says, doesn't accord with what I know to be true, then I have to disagree with it. The only parts of the Bible that I tend to like, and I will admit that they are really the only parts I have at all focused on, are the words of Jesus.

      William

      Delete
    28. WILLIAM: What difference are you trying to point out between, "God is not CONTAINED by the universe" and "He is outside the universe"?

      MY REPLY: He can be inside the universe, but not contained by it. A similar, simplistic illustration would be that you can put some of yourself into, say a bowl (your fingers or even your hand), but not be contained by the bowl.

      *******************

      WILLIAM: What do you think of the law of the excluded middle?

      MY REPLY: Is it another way of saying there is absolute truth? We might not know all absolute truths, but that does not mean they do not exist. Logically, they must. Logic itself is dependent on the existence of absolute truth.

      As far as statements being either the truth or not the truth, I am not so sure. Might not a statement contain both truths and non-truths? Some would say that the statement, if adulterated in such a way is therefore not the truth. I do know that a statement that contains non-truths, yet is mixed with truths, is very deceitful in that it makes a lie sound like the truth, so I might agree that it is not the truth.

      However, another statement that contains mostly the truth but includes a non-truth can be thrown out all together as a lie, because of that one non-truth, and the truth in it is missed or dismissed. So, then I might NOT agree that it is not the truth.

      However, if one can only have the truth if they have it purely, then none of us has the truth and we’re wasting time on these blogs grasping for truth none of us can have.

      Then there is the question, Can you have ESSENTIAL truth, even though you do not have ALL of the truth? I do believe there is essential truth for physical survival, or emotional survival, and essential truth for spiritual survival. So, we may not be able to have ALL of the truth, but we can have essential truth.

      *******************

      WILLIAM: What do you mean by "He is something all together different"? You have already suggested similarities between the god you are positing and his creation. How is that possible if he is completely "all together" different? And could this be said of everything? For example, if we wanted to point out similarities, I could say you and I are both probably made of atoms. If we wanted to point out differences, we could note that you are probably made of an "all together different" set of atoms than my set.

      MY REPLY: I think I was referring to the substance of the universe, but that probably was not an accurate statement anyway. God’s substance is altogether different from the substance of the universe. However, sentient beings have an invisible aspect (thoughts, emotions and personality), just as God has invisible attributes that are similar. Human kind has a spirit, just as God IS Spirit, and I think that is the part of us that is made in the image of God.

      *****************************

      WILLIAM: "If you truly want to know God's purposes, get into the Bible and read them for yourself![…]why not get in there and see for yourself?"


      I see for myself, with or without the Bible. If what it says, or if a particular interpretation of what it says, doesn't accord with what I know to be true, then I have to disagree with it. The only parts of the Bible that I tend to like, and I will admit that they are really the only parts I have at all focused on, are the words of Jesus.

      MY REPLY: Why did you choose the words of Jesus? Was it for any OBJECTIVE reason, or just because they appeal to you?

      Delete
    29. I'd also like to ask you, how do you know that what you think disagrees with the Bible is true? What is your basis for judging?

      Delete
    30. Pennie Lee,

      WILLIAM: "Finite - 1.a. having bounds; limited". (thefreedictionary.com)

      The god you posit is finite.

      PENNIE LEE: He is not infinite or finite. He is something all together different

      WILLIAM: What do you mean by "He is something all together different"?

      PENNIE LEE: God’s substance is altogether different from the substance of the universe.

      MY REPLY: What you are saying fits what I mean by finite. If we have 'A' and 'not-A', then 'A' is finite, it is limited in some way (cf. the definition above). For example, the being you posit is not the universe; is not the substance of the universe; is not you; is not this computer; is not…etc.

      Aren't those limits?

      **************************

      PENNIE LEE: As far as statements being either the truth or not the truth, I am not so sure. Might not a statement contain both truths and non-truths?

      MY REPLY: If you say that a particular statement contains both truths and non-truths, that means you have identified each and should then be able to separate the two and state which are true and which are non-true.

      ************************

      PENNIE LEE: However, sentient beings have an invisible aspect (thoughts, emotions and personality)

      MY REPLY: There isn't anything mysterious about those things. They are all manifestations of reality and fall on the continuum of cause and effect.

      *************************

      PENNIE LEE: Human kind has a spirit, just as God IS Spirit

      MY REPLY: Are these two spirits the same substance or different?

      *************************

      PENNIE LEE: I'd also like to ask you, how do you know that what you think disagrees with the Bible is true? What is your basis for judging?

      MY REPLY: Logic, and experience.

      *************************

      PENNIE LEE: Why did you choose the words of Jesus? Was it for any OBJECTIVE reason, or just because they appeal to you?

      MY REPLY: Both. I didn't see that other's interpretations made internal sense, or accord with reality. I saw Jesus's words in a different light after I began to think and look for myself.

      *************************

      Your format was very clear, so I adopted it.

      William

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    31. This is going to come in two comments (at least), because it was too long otherwise, for one comment:

      WILLIAM: "Finite - 1.a. having bounds; limited". (thefreedictionary.com)

      The god you posit is finite.

      MY REPLY: You remember reading that Christ walked THROUGH a closed door? The door was not Him, the materials of it came from Him, but it did not limit Him. He fills all in all says Ephesians 1:23. If He were, however, His creation, He would allow us to worship it. The fact that He forbids worship of His creation in the very first commandment, proves that creation is not Him.

      If God was infinite before His creation, yet became a part of a finite creation, would that not in turn destroy His infinity, because part of Him would be finite? The Bible teaches that God does not change, cannot change. This of course does not refer to His dealings, say, His dealings with the human race. What cannot change is His own intrinsic nature, e.g. the Bible says God cannot lie. That is not an indication of finiteness, since lying is not a part of His intrinsic nature and being.

      When God the Spirit took a body to Himself, did He change in essence to become finite? No, only His body was finite. He Himself did not change, but was still the Eternal Spirit. He simply added a body to His essential, sinless Self. The body was not an intrinsic change.

      Your errors in reasoning are that you insist on making a façade based on human knowledge and reasoning, calling it God and knocking it down as a strawman.

      **************************
      WILLIAM: What you are saying fits what I mean by finite. If we have 'A' and 'not-A', then 'A' is finite, it is limited in some way (cf. the definition above). For example, the being you posit is not the universe; is not the substance of the universe; is not you; is not this computer; is not…etc.

      Aren't those limits?

      MY REPLY: How, really, DO you define infinity? The way I understand your definition of infinity there is no such thing as “infinity.” That's because all infinities have limits, or the "object" of infinity would really be nothing at all. Take an infinite plane, for example. Its boundaries extend infinitely, but it does have boundaries, or it would no longer be a plane. It is the same with points that are infinite, or a line. The points go out infinitely in every direction, no boundaries there, but they are still contained or none would be a point. Or more close to home. Take any two adjacent numbers. Let’s say one and two. There is an infinite number of fractions that reside between these two numbers, but they are limited, in that they can never break out from one and become two. Therefore, all infinities are limited. So, where did we come up with that term anyway?

      For one, all of these infinities are abstractions and simply illustrative. They really do not exist in physical reality, but in mathematical abstractions. I believe God gave us mathematics to help us understand a little bit about what eternity is about. But as I said, in the physical world, infinities really do not exist. There is a finite number of atoms in the observable universe, a finite number of molecules, of sand, of stars, of all things in our observable world.

      God, however, being God, for Whom nothing is too hard, is not an abstraction, but a very real entity. Therefore, we must deal with Him in reality as He has said we should. We are not to deal with Him, however, according to the limited ability of our human reasoning and logic. If we do, we are boxing our understanding in and failing. We can only know Him according to HIS reason and logic, which by necessity is infinite.

      **************************

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    32. Part II:

      WILLIAM: If you say that a particular statement contains both truths and non-truths, that means you have identified each and should then be able to separate the two and state which are true and which are non-true.

      MY REPLY: That's true, but to do so and have any rationality about it, I must use a reliable standard by which to judge it. Otherwise my judgments are nothing more than my opinion. What reliable standard do you use to judge truth by? How do you know it is reliable? Or are you of the persuasion that we cannot know truth or that there are no absolutes?

      ************************

      PENNIE LEE: However, sentient beings have an invisible aspect (thoughts, emotions and personality)

      WILLIAM: There isn't anything mysterious about those things. They are all manifestations of reality and fall on the continuum of cause and effect.

      MY REPLY: Can you explain yourself? Then can you prove it?

      *************************

      PENNIE LEE: Human kind has a spirit, just as God IS Spirit

      WILLIAM: Are these two spirits the same substance or different?

      MY REPLY: I believe they are the same substance, but different! God made the human spirit in His own likeness and I believe that likeness is that He made us with a spirit even as He is Spirit. That way we can communicate with Him by our spirits. (Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.)

      The usual references to God that include voice, hands and arms, etc. are mere anthropomorphisms used to make understanding easier. Our spirits are not like His in that He is Divine and infinite. However, to the dismay of those who reject God, their spirits, like His, are inextinguishable, though they began at a point in time.

      *************************

      PENNIE LEE: I'd also like to ask you, how do you know that what you think disagrees with the Bible is true? What is your basis for judging?

      WILLIAM: Logic, and experience.

      MY REPLY: So, these are your reliable standard for judging? How do you know they are reliable? Can you prove your answer?

      *************************

      PENNIE LEE: Why did you choose the words of Jesus? Was it for any OBJECTIVE reason, or just because they appeal to you?

      WILLIAM: Both. I didn't see that other's interpretations made internal sense, or accord with reality. I saw Jesus's words in a different light after I began to think and look for myself.

      MY REPLY: Interesting! I would be curious about what that “different light,” was!

      *************************

      WILLIAM: Your format was very clear, so I adopted it.

      MY REPLY: It DOES seem to make this communication easier. I also liked YOUR format of the lines of stars to divide the various comment sections! :)

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    33. Pennie Lee,

      Here is your parsed argument -

      1. "If something happens it must have been caused to happen by something else."
      2. "any cause, in and of itself, must also have been the effect of a prior cause."
      3. "Taken to the nth degree we must eventually come up against a First Cause." - "If there is no ultimate cause, then we have infinite regression, which is irrational"
      4. "I take this [First Cause] to be God Himself who, by definition, has no causality of His own."

      Is this right?

      Among other problems, you don't address how the being you posit causes things without being subject to causality itself (and thus fulfilling the requirement of having "no causality of His own"), which was my original question.

      ******************************

      PENNIE LEE: Your errors in reasoning are that you insist on making a façade based on human knowledge and reasoning, calling it God and knocking it down as a strawman.

      MY REPLY: I am not making a straw man, but am pointing out ramifications of what you are positing that you are failing to realize and address. Why do I say there are things you are failing to address? I say this because you haven't answered my original question. I will ask it again - unless I have missed something, you say this being thinks, has a mind, makes plans, doesn't lie, causes things, exercises his capabilities, intervenes, has a purpose, burns things, has fed people, administers justice, loves, values, dies, cares, knows things, responds, destroys, controls, reveals, hides, reasons, has emotions, walks through doors, allows, forbids, takes on a body, and gives. How does this being do these things without being subject to cause and effect?

      William

      Delete
    34. I see God at appropriate times subjecting Himself to cause and effect, at His will. That does not prove to me that He is the subject of cause and effect. Therefore, tell me how you think He does these things and is therefore controlled by cause and effect. Otherwise, I don’t understand your question.

      Delete
    35. Pennie Lee,

      Cause - that which is necessary for some other thing to exist.
      Effect - that which depends on something else for its existence.

      Anything with parts is subject to cause and effect. Why? Without its parts it would not exist. The being you posit depends on its parts, and therefore is caused.

      Does this being have parts, or am I building a straw man? Does this being depend on its parts?

      You have said that this being has thoughts, a mind, emotions, capabilities, a will, knowledge, and substance. Are all these things identical to each other? If they are identical, why do you use different words? If they are identical, your various claims become meaningless. Therefore, you will have to admit that these things are not identical - they are all different things. They are the things that make up this being, i.e. his parts.

      What if we take away his parts? You posit, "God’s substance" and " the capabilities of God". Imagine this substance without the capabilities. Is he the same thing, or in separating the two have we basically destroyed him? If we take away any of the parts, this being becomes something different. In other words, he is caused by his parts.

      ***************

      If you consider what is external to this being, you will see the relationship between him and what is external to him ends up falling into the same boat as described above.

      William

      Delete
    36. Pennie Lee,

      What do you mean by energy?

      William

      Delete
    37. Power that may be translated into motion, overcoming resistance or causing a physical change; the ability to do work. Energy assumes several forms; it may be thermal (in the form of heat), electrical, mechanical, chemical, radiant, or kinetic. In doing work, the energy is changed from one form to one or more other form(s). In these changes some of the energy is “lost” in the sense that it cannot be recaptured and used again. Usually there is loss in the form of heat, which escapes or is dissipated unused; all energy changes give off a certain amount of heat.ƒ
      http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Energy+%28earth+science%29


      Delete
    38. Pennie Lee,

      I am unclear how you are conceiving energy. If you don't mind, I will call it "x".

      Is this "x" everything?

      -------------------------

      I am also unclear why you are asking this question. Is it related to our discussion about whether or not the being you posit is subject to cause and effect, or are you changing the topic?

      William

      Delete
    39. The question is related to this discussion analogously. You stated that every effect has a cause, that God has parts that make Him God and so God is the effect of those parts and His parts are the caused. If God MUST have parts that make Him who He is and therefore He is caused (by His parts), then ALL things must have parts that make them what they are, or they cannot be what they are, and so therefore all things are caused by their parts.

      If this is the case, then energy must have parts that make it what it is and therefore it is caused by its parts. What are the parts of energy that set it apart from all other things? Or does energy have parts?

      Really, I think you are conflating, by mental gyration, what defines a thing with what causes or CREATES a thing at its beginning. Even though "parts" or "attributes" define a being or thing, it does not mean those attributes created the thing from nothing at some genesis in time. Each of the "parts" or "attributes" could be eternal.

      Indeed scientific law does state that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore, the "parts" or "attributes" of energy did not create energy, any more than God's attributes created Him. The attributes of energy DEFINE it, even as the attributes of God DEFINE Him.

      Delete
    40. Excuse the typos. *the effects are the cause* not the caused.

      Delete
    41. Pennie Lee,

      We hear of energy, but, do you have a specific thing clearly in mind when you talk about energy? Is the table I am sitting at energy? Are you certain of it one way or the other? Are you personally certain that energy cannot be created or destroyed? Since you ask me to discern whether or not energy has parts - "Or does energy have parts?", I doubt that you have clearly formulated what you mean by "energy". If I am wrong, please clarify.

      ------------------

      PENNIE LEE: "I think you are conflating, by mental gyration, what defines a thing with what causes or CREATES a thing at its beginning. Even though "parts" or "attributes" define a being or thing, it does not mean those attributes created the thing from nothing at some genesis in time."

      MY REPLY: This doesn't matter, and what I have said still applies. The moment a thing is said to exist, it has parts and is dependent on those parts*.

      *Like you suggest, a thing is also dependent on things external to it, which I hinted at with - "If you consider what is external to this being, you will see the relationship between him and what is external to him ends up falling into the same boat as described above". The being you posit is caused by its parts and what is external to it. E.g. He can't be 'the being that sent Pennie Lee evidence' if there were no Pennie Lee.

      I wouldn't say that a thing is created from nothing at all as all things are caused, i.e. all things are dependent on other things for their existence.

      ---------------

      Please keep in mind that I cannot state everything in a single post and still keep the post simple and short. Some things may need to be drawn in later.

      William

      Delete
    42. Pennie Lee,

      PENNIE LEE: "I think you are conflating, by mental gyration, what defines a thing with what causes or CREATES a thing at its beginning. Even though "parts" or "attributes" define a being or thing, it does not mean those attributes created the thing from nothing at some genesis in time."

      MY REPLY: What I have said about the being you posit is in perfect agreement with the definitions I gave of cause and effect -

      Cause - that which is necessary for some other thing to exist.
      Effect - that which depends on something else for its existence.

      If you posit a being and say it is x, y, and z, and we then propose that we dismantle or destroy this x, y, and z, haven't we destroyed the being?

      -------------

      I have focused on a being's parts for simplicity.

      William

      Delete
    43. That is assuming that you can dismantle x, y, and z. That is merely an assumption. That God is dependent on x, y, and z to exist, in no way proves that God is not self-existent or can be destroyed. The "elements" x, y, and z are not matter that can be destroyed, but eternal attributes.

      Delete
    44. Pennie Lee,

      PENNIE LEE: "That is assuming that you can dismantle x, y, and z. That is merely an assumption."

      MY REPLY: It is important to see the logic behind it. I don't have to be able to dismantle the moon to see that it cannot exist without its parts.


      "Without going outside, you may know the whole world."


      William

      Delete
    45. You may know the whole world, but you may not know God unless He reveals Himself to you. He has revealed Himself to you through His written Word.

      But back to the discussion. It is important to have a correct premise or your conclusion will not be correct. The moon being a physical object does have parts that can be dismantled. However, when does the moon become not the moon? How many parts must be subtracted from it for it to become something else, or non-existent as the moon? But that really is an aside, I think.

      Your conclusion, however, is the reason I mentioned energy. What parts can you take away from energy for it to no longer be energy, when the Law of the Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed?

      If energy, therefore, cannot be dismantled by deletion of its parts, then there is no reason that the same cannot be true of God in the spiritual world. Perhaps energy could not exist without its "parts" but what are those parts and how would you subtract them from energy so that energy would no longer exist?

      Therefore, whether God can exist with or without His parts is a moot argument, because, like energy, His "parts" cannot be destroyed. They are immutable and eternal. Getting into "logic" that is based on non-existent variables is not really logic. It is merely a mind game. You can stay in your house and think all kinds of thoughts and put them together logically, but if the premise of those thoughts is not based on reality, it's all really moot.


      Delete
    46. William, I would recommend the following book to you. It's only $10.00 for the Kindle edition if you have one of those.
      God Without Parts: divine simplicity and the metaphysics of God's absoluteness

      The doctrine of divine simplicity has long played a crucial role in Western Christianity's understanding of God. It claimed that by denying that God is composed of parts Christians are able to account for his absolute self-sufficiency and his ultimate sufficiency as the absolute Creator of the world. If God were a composite being then something other than the Godhead itself would be required to explain or account for God. If this were the case then God would not be most absolute and would not be able to adequately know or account for himself without reference to something other than himself. This book develops these arguments by examining the implications of divine simplicity for God's existence, attributes, knowledge, and will. Along the way there is extensive interaction with older writers, such as Thomas Aquinas and the Reformed scholastics, as well as more recent philosophers and theologians. An attempt is made to answer some of the currently popular criticisms of divine simplicity and to reassert the vital importance of continuing to confess that God is without parts, even in the modern philosophical-theological milieu.

      "Dr. James Dolezal's treatment of divine simplicity, which provides a defense of this doctrine in perhaps its strongest form, is a first-rate piece of work . . . [It] is the best full-length philosophical treatment of divine simplicity that I know."
      -Paul Helm
      Teaching Fellow
      Regent College, Vancouver

      "James E. Dolezal has authored a philosophically rigorous and theologically thorough defense of divine simplicity, and he has done so for positive reasons. For Dolezal, the whole rationale for defending the simplicity of God is to assure that we actually come to know, though not fully comprehend, God as he truly is--the God of reason and revelation, the God of the Christian philosophical and theological tradition. Dolezal has made a very admirable and extremely significant contribution to the discussion of God's simplicity."
      -Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.
      United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

      James E. Dolezal is a Research Fellow at the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

      Warning: reading level is seminary/doctoral


      Delete
    47. I forgot the link:

      http://www.amazon.com/God-without-Parts-Metaphysics-Absoluteness-ebook/dp/B006H4TM7K

      Delete
    48. Pennie Lee,

      PENNIE LEE: "It is important to have a correct premise or your conclusion will not be correct."

      [My summary is in brackets]

      PENNIE LEE: "Energy must be conserved. This means that it can neither be created nor destroyed." [CLAIM: Energy can't be created or destroyed.]

      PENNIE LEE: "Nothing, whether matter or energy, can be created out of nothing there must be something that ‘causes’ them into existence." [CLAIM: Energy must have been created.]

      PENNIE LEE: "He can intervene and cancel them such as when Moses saw the burning bush that did not burn up." [CLAIM: The being you posit created/destroyed energy]

      PENNIE LEE: "God can create or destroy energy" [CLAIM: The being you posit can create or destroy energy.]

      PENNIE LEE: "people inside of the universe observed God, who is not contained by the universe, putting the laws of energy on hold" [CLAIM: People have seen the being you posit creating or destroying energy]

      PENNIE LEE: "I’m not sure what God has done" [CLAIM: You don't know whether or not the being you posit has or can create/destroy energy]

      PENNIE LEE: "Scientists have never observed energy being created or destroyed. Does that mean energy has never been created or destroyed? To say that would be assumptive of conditions of the past that have never been observed." [CLAIM: You don't know whether or not energy can be created or destroyed. You can only assume one way or the other (especially interesting given you say above, "people inside the universe observed God"...]

      PENNIE LEE: "My own hypothesis is that energy flows from the eternal God Himself and therefore, if it cannot be created or destroyed or never was created" [CLAIM: Energy flows from the being you posit; CLAIM: You don't know if energy cannot be created or destroyed; CLAIM: You don't know whether or not energy was created to begin with.]

      PENNIE LEE: "if God did indeed create energy" [CLAIM: You don't know if the being you posit created energy]

      PENNIE LEE: "Energy assumes several forms." "Energy is changed from one form to one or more other form(s). In these changes." " All energy changes give off a certain amount of heat." [CLAIM: Energy changes.]

      PENNIE LEE: "Does energy have parts?" [CLAIM: You don't know whether or not energy has parts.]

      PENNIE LEE: " like energy, His 'parts' cannot be destroyed. They are immutable and eternal." [CLAIM: Energy is immutable and eternal (and therefore cannot change)]


      MY REPLY: Obviously you are confused - one claim contradicts the next, and on top of that you also say you don't know. How can your premises, which include energy, be correct when you clearly don't know what you are talking about when you speak of energy?

      If you want to include it in the discussion, especially because it is a particularly difficult word, you should clearly state what you mean by it. I can't address your argument when it is full of 'blanks' and I have asked several times for you to clarify. How am I to identify this thing?

      William

      Delete
    49. I'm not confused. I just do not know everything! IF energy indeed cannot be created or destroyed, it flows from God Himself, who cannot be created or destroyed. IF energy, somewhere in the past was created, along with matter, it was God, who cannot be created or destroyed, that created it!

      You insist that God has parts and therefore, by your logic, cannot exist without them. I gave you an example of something that, as far as anyone has observed, does not have parts, yet by all observations cannot be created or destroyed. This little earthly illustration demonstrates that it is possible to have no beginning and no end. If you don't like my answers, go study scientific journals and find out what they say and then come back and straighten my thinking out! That is, tell me what the parts of energy are that make it energy and if or when it has ever been observed to be created or destroyed by taking away its parts.

      Because our logic is often faulty, we often need a dose of reality by leaving our houses! :)

      Delete
    50. Here is some good logic for you:

      http://biblicallandmarks.com/wpl/a-challenge-to-unbelief/

      Delete
    51. WILLIAM POSTS: PENNIE LEE: "Nothing, whether matter or energy, can be created out of nothing there must be something that ‘causes’ them into existence." [CLAIM: Energy must have been created.]

      MY REPLY: That is not what I claimed at all. I simply claimed that NOTHING CAN BE CREATED OUT OF NOTHING. If energy indeed can, after all, be created, it certainly did not create itself.

      WILLIAM POSTS: PENNIE LEE: "people inside of the universe observed God, who is not contained by the universe, putting the laws of energy on hold" [CLAIM: People have seen the being you posit creating or destroying energy]

      MY REPLY: That is not what I claimed. When you put a person on hold that has called you, did you destroy the person? LOL

      WILLIAM POSTS: PENNIE LEE: "I’m not sure what God has done" [CLAIM: You don't know whether or not the being you posit has or can create/destroy energy]

      MY REPLY: I didn’t say that. If I don’t know what all God has done, that does not mean that I have posited anything, except I don’t know all God has done!

      WILLIAM POSTS: PENNIE LEE: "Scientists have never observed energy being created or destroyed. Does that mean energy has never been created or destroyed? To say that would be assumptive of conditions of the past that have never been observed." [CLAIM: You don't know whether or not energy can be created or destroyed. You can only assume one way or the other (especially interesting given you say above, "people inside the universe observed God"...]

      MY REPLY: You did not understand that statement? Conditions today might not have been the conditions of the past and therefore what has been observed or never observed today, might have been observed or accomplished in the past. That is all I was saying.

      WILLIAM POSTS: PENNIE LEE: "Does energy have parts?" [CLAIM: You don't know whether or not energy has parts.]

      MY REPLY: I asked you a question that you have not answered. Why not?

      WILLIAM POSTS: PENNIE LEE: " like energy, His 'parts' cannot be destroyed. They are immutable and eternal." [CLAIM: Energy is immutable and eternal (and therefore cannot change)]

      MY REPLY: No, I didn’t say energy was immutable and eternal. It simply cannot be created or destroyed according to scientific law. I compared one attribute of energy (it cannot be created or destroyed) to the attribute of God, which is, He cannot be created or destroyed, and then went on to describe God—He is immutable and eternal.


      WILLIAM POSTS: Obviously you are confused - one claim contradicts the next, and on top of that you also say you don't know. How can your premises, which include energy, be correct when you clearly don't know what you are talking about when you speak of energy?

      MY REPLY: Energy was not my premise. That God created the Cosmos and everything in it, was my premise. Energy, as we know it, was an illustration.

      WILLIAM POSTS: If you want to include it in the discussion, especially because it is a particularly difficult word, you should clearly state what you mean by it. I can't address your argument when it is full of 'blanks' and I have asked several times for you to clarify. How am I to identify this thing?

      MY REPLY: I gave you a definition for energy. What more do you want, that I can do?

      Delete
    52. Pennie Lee,

      PENNIE LEE: "I'm not confused."

      PENNIE LEE: (Paraphrased) Energy can't be created, must have been created, I don't know if it was created, Scientists don't know if it was created, or maybe it wasn't created to begin with...

      MY REPLY: I call that confusion. Do you not know confusion when you see it?

      Your confusion and faulty logic have been displayed throughout this discussion:
      ---------------
      PENNIE LEE: (Paraphrased)
      1. A physicist indirectly proves there is something outside the universe.
      2. Therefore, the being I posit exists.

      MY REPLY: The conclusion doesn't follow. That is like saying, "There is something outside the universe. Therefore Zeus; or the multiverse; or Vishnu"…
      ----------------
      PENNIE LEE: (Paraphrased)
      1. Energy can be neither created or destroyed.
      2. For every release of energy there is a net loss of usable energy.
      3. Therefore, energy must be caused.
      4. Voila, the being I posit.

      MY REPLY: 3 contradicts 1, and 4 doesn't follow (see above).
      ----------------

      PENNIE LEE: "I just do not know everything!"

      MY REPLY: If you don't know these things, why are you claiming them?

      ----------------

      PENNIE LEE: "does energy have parts?"

      PENNIE LEE: "I gave you an example of something that, as far as anyone has observed, does not have parts"

      MY REPLY: Your argument parsed is:

      1. I don't know if energy has parts, but don't think that it does - therefore it doesn't.
      2. Therefore, you are wrong about the being I posit having parts.

      Simply say you don't know rather than draw unwarranted conclusions. Don't include things you don't know in your arguments.
      -----------------

      PENNIE LEE: "You insist that God has parts"

      MY REPLY: You posited all of this being's parts. I merely listed them.

      -----------------
      I ask, "Why must we 'eventually come up against a First Cause'"?. First you argue that energy can't cause itself and therefore we need the being you posit to cause it. Then, in trying to prove that there are things without parts, you contradict this argument and argue that energy is "immutable and eternal". If energy is "immutable and eternal", we don't need the being you posit.

      ----------------

      PENNIE LEE: "Because our logic is often faulty"

      MY REPLY: Your logic is definitely faulty.

      PENNIE LEE: "straighten my thinking out!"

      MY REPLY: If you don't see the things I am pointing out so far I doubt that I can be of much help to you. You make claims and then you completely forget about those claims and claim the direct opposite. When I point this out, rather than acknowledge it and correct your thinking, you gloss over it like it is irrelevant. I have deeper points to make, but can't get you to acknowledge or understand these basic things.

      How great is the darkness.

      William

      Delete
    53. Pennie Lee,

      I read your posts from March 10, 2014 at 3:51:00 and 4:05:00, and before I could finish formulating my reply you posted again at 10:26:00. I didn't see your new post before posting my reply. It may seem out of order. I am sorry for that. Here is my reply for your 10:26:00 post.

      I will address one at a time:

      WILLIAM POSTS: PENNIE LEE: "people inside of the universe observed God, who is not contained by the universe, putting the laws of energy on hold" [CLAIM: People have seen the being you posit creating or destroying energy]

      PENNIE LEE: That is not what I claimed. When you put a person on hold that has called you, did you destroy the person? LOL

      MY REPLY: If "putting the laws of energy on hold" doesn’t mean that the being you posit is either creating or destroying matter/energy, what does it mean?

      William

      Delete
    54. It means He put them on hold. Nothing more. Nothing less.

      As for the rest of your comments, "paraphrasing" what I said is not repeating what I said. It is making a strawman up out of your head from what I said and then knocking the strawman down and then acting like you won and have superior logic. That is not being honest.

      You are not even beginning to try to understand what I have patiently been trying to share with you. So, I cannot and will not proceed any further. Believe what you want to believe about my confusion, lack of logic and about God and feel superior in your beliefs. If that's what floats your boat, float away. You will have empirical proof and indisputable logic soon enough.

      Delete
    55. Pennie Lee,

      [In three posts]

      PENNIE LEE: "'paraphrasing' what I said is not repeating what I said."

      MY REPLY: I labeled them as "My summary" or "Paraphrased".
      ------
      WILLIAM: "I’m not sure what God has done" [CLAIM: You don't know whether or not the being you posit has or can create/destroy energy]"

      PENNIE LEE: "I didn’t say that."

      MY REPLY: All your statements were used in a context - we were talking about the being you posit and his relationship to energy.
      -------
      PENNIE LEE: "I asked you a question that you have not answered. Why not?"

      First,
      PENNIE LEE: "I gave you a definition for energy."

      MY REPLY: It was difficult to parse and to determine exactly what you meant, e.g. "the ability to do work". Does an unaided table have the ability? I have the ability. Am I energy? If so, I have parts… I asked various unanswered questions for clarification.

      Second,

      MY REPLY: You rely on blind belief-both scientific and religious. I was trying to force you to address this fact.

      William

      Delete
    56. WILLIAM: If "putting the laws of energy on hold" doesn’t mean that the being you posit is either creating or destroying matter/energy, what does it mean?

      PENNIE LEE: "It means He put them on hold. Nothing more. Nothing less."

      MY REPLY: In other words it is meaningless. I'm putting the law of gravity on hold right now - do you see it?

      -----
      PENNIE LEE: "acting like you won"

      MY REPLY: I value truth and understanding and their propagation. I couldn't care less about the silly notions of winning or losing. I harbor no ill will.
      ------
      PENNIE LEE: "You are not even beginning to try to understand"

      MY REPLY: I understand and it is untenable.

      Assuming the being exists as you describe, then it is completely dependent on his parts (and everything else it is not). The only way around this logical fact is to mangle the meanings of words- like you do with 'putting the laws of energy on hold'.
      --------
      PENNIE LEE: "I cannot and will not proceed any further."

      MY REPLY: It would take tremendous courage, great effort, and a love of truth.
      --------
      PENNIE LEE: "You will have empirical proof and indisputable logic soon enough."

      MY REPLY: A perfectly typical "Christian" finale. I've seen what your god can do..."put them on hold. Nothing more. Nothing less."

      William

      Delete
    57. PENNIE LEE: "The First Cause was negating those physical laws ["the various Laws, including those of Thermodynamics] for His own purpose at that time and likewise when He was feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with 5 loaves and 2 little fish"

      WILLIAM: "[CLAIM: People have seen the being you posit creating or destroying energy]"

      Why did I say you are making this claim? You claim thousands of people were there and someone presumably saw what happened- hence, "People have seen".

      We were talking about your god. - hence, "the being you posit".

      You give the story as an example of him putting on hold the various laws. If he didn't create energy, why are you telling the story? What is the point in this context? Surely you are not going to argue that he didn't create anything- they started with 5 loaves and ended with 12 or so baskets full. Something was created and food is matter/energy (e.g. food has calories)- hence, "creating or destroying energy."

      My description of your claim is accurate.* You reply -

      PENNIE LEE: "That is not what I claimed. When you put a person on hold that has called you, did you destroy the person? LOL"

      Your blind beliefs have blinded you. Are you being dishonest?

      *I didn't know how to analyze the bush burning story, so I included destroying energy.

      To "put a person on hold" means you put the conversation on hold, you temporarily stop ("destroy") the conversation.

      William

      Delete
  22. I know this much - because I remember it - as clearly as I did as an infant in my crib. I REMEMBER communicating (and I say "communicating" because we did not "talk" using our mouths) with what I can only describe as what must have been some kind of a guide who I seemed to me (though I do not remember seeing a personage specifically) to be a very nice older man. It seems he was encouraging me to be born and I was feeling unsure as to whether or not to go and I remember "thinking" to him (and it was very natural for us to communicate through our minds) "but what if I fail" and he "communicated" through thought back to me "it never ends. it never, ever, ever, ends" in a very comforting sense. I seems we had this "conversation" right before I came and It is the first thought I remember having as an infant in my crib and I felt very comforted by it. I thought about it a lot and years later my mother said to me "you never cried as a baby, you were my best baby". I remember thinking it was because I knew I didn't have anything to cry about because . . . I knew . . . it never ends. I don't care if anyone believes me or not - I know it happened and I still remember it just like it was yesterday. I know when I was about three and I was alone in my room (after all my older siblings left for school) I would stand in front of the mirror and repeat over and over and over again "who am I" ? While I was doing this I would be touching my face and my hair and my hands and saying "this is my body, and this is what I look like in the mirror, but this isn't who I AM". I knew - at three years old - that my body and my soul were two separate things - and that there was something much, much bigger than us. I also remember taking my first steps, I remember things from my babyhood that I have checked out with my family and they are amazed that I can remember them, but I do. I felt like I was an adult inside a baby's body. I always felt that way. In any event, I don't get too caught up in definitions and whatnot so you won't hear me commenting too much on stuff like that - just my little comments hear and there to Daniel about how cool I think he is ! gina

    ReplyDelete
  23. agree with gina

    here's a poem for daniel
    who i think of often:


    A Cave in Moab
    Daniel Suelo
    Daniel Suelo
    The pencil moves
    From left to right
    Your lifestyle still
    Exists in flight
    Today Thoreau
    And Whitman met
    In Brooklyn; two brooks
    Harbored, guarded
    Meet mid-stream
    My shadow upon your
    Submerged bosom, yours
    Thrown behind you
    Celestial blue, green
    Emerald in gold halo
    Hearken my fingertips
    Right to left or wading
    Daniel Suelo
    Daniel Suelo
    Arise and wake now.

    ReplyDelete
  24. suelo what are your thoughts on this?

    Dianne Reidy's Bible: House Stenographer Preaches About Freemasons, God, And Jesus
    By Yasmine Hafiz Posted: 10/17/2013 1:08 pm EDT | Updated: 10/17/2013 1:48 pm EDT

    Dianne Reidy, a stenographer for the House of Representatives, made several religious references in an unexpected tirade moments after Congress passed a bill in favor of ending the government shutdown.
    As lawmakers celebrated the legislation, she walked up to the microphone and began yelling about Freemasons, God, and Jesus in an outburst captured by The Takeaway's Todd Zwillich.
    A House GOP aide told CNN that she began by saying, "Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand."
    Galatians 6:7 (KJV) says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." It's written in Matthew 12:25 (KJV), "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand."
    Zwillich's recording captured her declaring, "He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked, (don't touch me) He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been... it would not have been... No. it would not have been... the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons... and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ."
    Her admonition against serving two masters may come from an incident mentioned in both Matthew and Luke. Matthew 6:24 (KJV) states, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Mammon is generally understood to represent greed or money in this verse.
    Reidy's claim that the Constitution was written by Freemasons is a fairly well-known conspiracy theory that is investigated in historian Jay Kinney's book The Masonic Myth. Many believe that around 13 of the Constitution's 39 signers were Masons.
    Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) banged her gavel and shouted for order as the well-known and liked Reidy as carted out by security officials, still screaming. Ros-Lehtinen told Fox News that Reidy "came up to the podium area beneath where I was standing and asked me if the microphones were on. I said that I didn't know. I assumed that perhaps I was chatting too much to the helpful parliamentarians around me. Then she suddenly faced the front and said words like 'Thus spoke the Lord.' And, 'This is not the Lord's work.'"
    Ros-Lehtinen continued, "I hammered to get control and hush her up. She said something about the devil. It was sudden, confusing and heartbreaking. She is normally a gentle soul."
    Was Reidy couching a criticism of the political deadlock and government shutdown in a Biblical framework, or was her outburst simply some sort of breakdown?
    Fox News reported that Reidy was questioned by the U.S. Capitol Police and taken to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation after the incident. She has yet to speak out publicl

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  25. Hey Daniel - on a lighter note . . . how's the weather out in Oregon?? Where are you guys finding to camp out? It's definitely turning Fall here in Syracuse, NY - the leaves are finally red & gold, the breeze is picking up to a constant, the temp is dropping pretty good, and the sky is more gray than blue these days. I've heard the geese overhead flocking south periodically over the last couple weeks so we must be close to coming in to wintery temps. We will be in to November in less than two weeks - wow - can't believe it - gina

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  26. after reading this, I always get another fresh shot of reality....

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  27. I spent a good amount of time yesterday reading a section from your website on "The beginnings of Money". Excellent. Loved it. You have put an amazing website together crammed with priceless facts and insights - thank you for your efforts - I find your work thoroughly enriching. hugs. gina

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