If God Was an Alien… 7 November, 2009Posted by paralleldivergence in astronomy, Earth, God, Hubble, My Thoughts, Religion.
Tags: atheism, Religion, space
The Parallel Divergence blog has been around for over three years now with sporadic articles being posted covering a wide range of topics, all carefully crafted with the intention of making the reader think, question and respond. I’ve enjoyed the large number of comments that most of my articles attract and I’ve learned from people who both share and completely oppose my various points of view. But recently, a reader comment was posted that grabbed me totally.
The comment was quietly added to “Which is Stronger, Manfluence or Godfluence?“, one of my popular earlier articles. Comment #62 suddenly appeared, and it was close to two years after the last comment was submitted. At 6:30 in the morning I was alerted to its arrival and as I started to read, I was taken on a wondrous journey of intrigue and awe-inspiring writing. Perhaps I was only half-awake, but this comment with its generous use of ellipses made me pause, reflect on and react to each and every carefully crafted statement. Who is this person? Was this really typed in one session as a reader’s comment on a blog article? There is not a single typographical error! Surely this is a cut & paste job? No, the almighty Google says it’s completely original, written just for my article.
Anyway, I’ve since had a lengthy email discussion on various subjects with “Mr Barry H. Browning“, which is still continuing, but I thought his original comment deserved a wider-audience, so I’ve decided to centre a new article around it, posing his unspoken question, What if God Was an Alien? Here is Mr Browning’s comment posted in full and unedited. Please check his comment in the context of the original article at the link above, as well as the discussion that followed.
4th November 2009, and last night I stumbled upon this your blog…how cool is that? Just finished e-mailing an old friend that “checking out the Hubble pictures is one h-ll of a way to worship, and a lot more effective than the spiritual gatekeepers and spiritual-tax-collector-franchise-owning ‘Sunday morning country club directors’ can ever be.” Then I run into your blog…. Go figure.
It’s one thing….to “play” with what first seem like abstractions like “parallel universes” and “black holes” and “changes in the space-time continuum”….and it’s quite another thing…for those of us under I.Q. 160, to be able to “image”, without a little photographic help….what all that might look like….and the Hubble has done that, for me anyway….while looking at “deep space”, for example, I can just hear Carl Sagan’s voice from PBS broadcasts: “Mill-yuns….and-mill-yuns….and-mill-yuns….” (only he needs to juice the figures up a little, as in “bill-yuns…and-bill-yuns….and-bill-yuns…) If realizing that each of those at-first-glance “stars”, is actually a galaxy, itself containing-billions-of-stars, doesn’t give us a “Za-Zen” into a limitless….if not “primitive humanoid-bound”…sense of the Infinite…I don’t know what will…. Wow! It takes a good university to hear about Martin Buber’s “Ich-Du versus Ich-Sie”, and Rudy Otto’s “Mysterium Tremendum Et Fascinans”, much less Aquinus’s “That-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought”….(I think what the Hubble stimulates in us humans even-goes-beyond-thinking….but I digress)…
…and after four years of bathing in this in academic splendor, so many years ago, of “decent and scholastically-grounded” Comparitive Religious Studies(Religionswissenschaft), and Philosophy and Psychology, (yes, this included Jung), both in the U.S., and abroad, I have yet to hear anything but a paucity of this from any so-called “Christian” pulpit in the U.S. Well….the Inquisition forced Galileo to “recant”….d’ye suppose some “fundamentalist”idiots will declare Hubble itself “a work of the Dark Side”? I can just hear-it-in-my “mind’s-ear”….”Don’t-confuse-us-with-the-facts, Barry”….
….Now…..and again, this from looking at pictures from the Hubble….how can we….doubt the possibility, given the permutations of billions of billions of stars, and the infinite number of planets that presupposes…..the Europeans of late have done a good job of “proving” from Hubble and other sources, the existence of a specific number of observed faraway planets, which is growing….
….How can we doubt the possibility of other beings?
…And if we don’t doubt this, why, why, WHY…..do we insist, that if-they-exist, they-must-be…..anthropomorphic, bifurcated….humanoids? This is one of the “bastard children” of bad theology….we aren’t aware enough of what goes on inside ourselves psychologically, to recognize a spiritual projection of ourselves on any outside phenomenon when we experience it…..300 hours of good psychological training BEFORE candidates get to go to seminary would fix this….fat chance of that…..
…We are in the process of….”having-the-doors-blown-off”….of what we experience as “real”, and this has not substantially happened in the West, give-or-take-a-few-exceptions, since the Greeks-Presocratics….(but perhaps in the East has been available conceptually ever since the Brahman-Atman Union was described in Sanskrit)….
…and in the midst of this experience…of these discoveries…..
…How are we going to handle the discovery of “intelligent life in the Universe, other-than-our-own”, when on our own Earth, we can neither collectively fathom nor accept the universality of our own encounter with the Infinite in its various and long-established permutations of the world religions, at least one of which is, as this blog’s author has informed us, is more populous in believers than Christianity, and several of which pre-date Christianity by any number of years? How can we HOPE to handle….”intelligent life”, which in all probability, WILL NOT be anthropomorphic, (but may well have the intelligence to appear to us in anthropomorphic form, to save us all from an initial heart attack), when, on earth, and in as “progressive” a country as the U.S.A., we cannot even UNDERSTAND, much less TOLERATE….other world religions…..and when within the revelatory religion of Christianity…..we have a multiplicity of sects, if not of rules, (in direct proportion, apparently, to the lack both of direct experience, and/or paucity of I.Q.)….and where we….can’t….even…..on Sunday mornings….deal with someone next to us with a slight difference in SKIN PIGMENTATION?
…I, for one, suspect that Science has taken us FAR BEYOND the hypocrisies of U.S. religious “fundamentalism”, and that we-have-been-necessarily-lied-to, about what Science and our government actually knows, from EXPERIENCE, about the Universe…..
….but for now am willing to live with Sir William of Occum’s famous Razor…..until-the-little-green-men-come-knocking-at-my-door….I don’t need to modify my life style just yet….
…..and I think this began in the late ’30s, when my mom was leaving Brown University for the weekend, and got caught up in a four hour traffic jam while traveling to East Providence, as the Mercury Theater’s War of the Worlds was being broadcast…
…I’m suspecting that it was decided then, that “we could not handle the truth”, and I must admit, having read the mass psychology studies arising out of that U.S. broadcast event….and its subsequent application in such subsequent world events as Hitler’s Blitzkreig….that they were, and perhaps still are, right…..
….but….a few fun details since then….such as…..rumors of “reverse engineering”….and….perhaps an ulterior motive behind Regan’s “Star Wars” weaponry….and certain observations made by our own and other countrys’ astronauts….and, of late, a suggested other reason for the Hubble’s soon-to-be-engaged, if-not-already-engaged, competitor….the Keppler…..
…Occum’s Razor notwithstanding…..if any of this takes us in the direction which I think it is taking us…..
….then how can the way many, if not most of us, practice Man’s Religions, handle what we next discover, (if we have not already discovered it and are-sitting-on-it)?
…I think……that Man’s Religions….are due for some massive revisions…..
….I think…..that it is well past the time when we….perhaps need a “Religions Race”, to catch up with the results of the “Space Race”….
….I think…..we need a “Weltanschuuang”(World-view)…which admits not only of the existence of other of Man’s world religions, but of their discoveries and unique contributions, collectively, to-what-we-can-claim-to-know-about-ourselves…..
….and I think….it is well past the time for us to accept, much less give lip service to, one unique theology to the exclusion of all others….
…..when there is enough evidence over the centuries, that the Infinite can be experienced by humans, in a multiplicity of ways….and when….for those not “intellectually challenged”, the much overtouted and supposed “differences” between man’s religions, are more a sign of the limited outlook of some individuals….of limited vision….
….and I think…..that if we are to survive spiritually and psychologically in the universe to come, with its implied expansion of intelligent life forms and life-connections…..we need to
…..know ourselves inside more profoundly than we already do…or already accept, is more like it, because the tools to self-discovery have been around for years, and-or are available to us through a variety of introspections and processes…..
….and we need to……expand…..and this greatly…..our SOCIAL model of “what is existentially real”, so that we can HANDLE what we are about to discover, or what we have ALREADY discovered….
….and “not go mad”, as the Greek Tragedies would have instructed us…..
…..”You cannot see G-d and live”……
….We are about to test that statement……can we handle it?
….I suspect….that if what I’ve been suggesting is out there, and is currently happening for us…..
….that we flip ourselves into the category of “meta-cognition”…..(that is, “thinking-about-thinking”), and…..
….ask ourselves, what with the bill-yuns-upon-bill-yuns… of stars-and-planets….”out there”…..
…..culture of primitive intelligence which is trying to expand, such as ours…..
….has ever….encountered….or ever will…..
….intelligence(s) of greater knowing……
….and has survived the experience…..and this, perhaps, under the guidance of the superior intelligences…..(let us, at least, hope so…)
More than any of you may have wanted to deal with on a Wednesday in 2009?
Wow. Well the odds are, that there ARE powers greater than our own out there in the glorious magnitude of the universe. And while they may not actually be listening to our wall-of-sound prayers, they may well be planning a visit.
Thank you Mr Browning.