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Which is Stronger, Manfluence or Godfluence? 4 November, 2006

Posted by paralleldivergence in Brad & Phil, education, God, My Thoughts, Political Correctness.

I’ve often thought about the situation of the world. If I was born in India, I’d probably be a Hindu. If it was Brazil, I’d be Roman Catholic. If I was born in Iran, there’d be little chance of being anything but a Muslim. And if I was born in the Bible Belt in the United States, I’d be “born again” right after I was born.

Manfluence or Godfluence?

I could be a very strong believer in one religion, but had I been born in some other part of the world, there’s every possibility that I would have followed a completely different religion. If people start to think about this concept, they’ll also start to wonder about how something as personal and spiritual as an individual’s religion could be pre-determined by their parents.

Now once you understand this simple concept, you can see that many people in other lands are the way they are simply because that’s where they were born. So we have a world with different nations of people that spiritually believe different things. But which belief system is the right one? Surely they cannot all be right. One might be right and all the others wrong. Or perhaps each of them are partly right but otherwise wrong. A Christian believes that Jesus was the son of God and that he died on the cross and was resurrected. A Muslim believes Jesus was not the son of God, he was crucified, but he did not actually die on the cross and there was no resurrection miracle. Either one is right and the other wrong. Or they are both partly right. Jesus existed and was put on a cross. Or maybe they are both completely wrong and the Scientologists are actually the ones that are right. No, wait. That’s just crazy.

According to Wikipedia, Christianity accounts for 2.1 billion of the Earth’s population, while Islam makes up 1.3 billion. Together, these two are the most prevalent religions and half the world can claim to be either one or the other. So, back to the question: Which group is right?

According to the holy texts of these religions, God shone down on the Earth about 2,000 years ago and said one thing to one group of people and about 1,400 years ago, did the same thing to another group of people, coincidentally in a similar geographic region of the globe, and said something very different. Was it the same God? Why the different Message? Did one group make some part of their story up? If yes, which group didn’t quite tell the truth? Or perhaps over those 2,000 and 1,400 years the stories have become muddied like Chinese Whispers?

Onto the title of this article. “Which is stronger, Manfluence or Godfluence?“. Yes, I know, they are not words, but I believe they should be. The influences of both Man and God on this planet are so enormous that they each deserve their own term (I’ve Googled both terms, they don’t exist, I made them up, they’re mine – OK?)  🙂 – Now when I refer to God from now on, I’ll refer to a single God and mono-theistic religions. Multiple Gods seem to have gone the way of the Greek and Roman Empires. God clearly does have influence. Well over half the world believes in a God and that belief influences what they do everyday while they are on the planet. But this is the real point. It’s the belief that is influencing people and not the God. And where did that belief come from? A Man…or a woMan.

Yes, if you believe, it was a person who taught or convinced you to believe – or it was a book printed by a Man that convinced you to believe. None of the religious texts we read today are original and untampered with.  All have been translated, edited, updated and revised. If you open the front cover it does not have a heavenly seal to provide any Godly authenticity. Allah has never told anyone that if they wear a vest of explosives and kill heathens (and themselves) that they would immediately go to Heaven. They were Men that convinced the poor, unfortunate bunnies to commit atrocities for the benefit of themselves.

If you like to read bestsellers, you really should read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. It’s quite hard-hitting, no-nonsense and straight to the point. If you Believe, it will shake and probably even offend you. What else can you expect from a book that will attempt to tear apart those very beliefs. If you want to try before you buy, take a visit to Dawkins’ website where you can hear a radio interview conducted by Penn Jillette and also take in a related episode of Penn & Teller’s in-your-face Bullshit.

They say God gave us free will, but the Lord is our shepherd. Are we sheep or not? Manfluence is so strong that it had the ability to make God and to make followers believe in the God they made. Manfluence is all about control. There’s 6 billion-plus people on this Earth. Someone has to control them.

What do you think?

Brad & Phil #007



1. nabsha - 5 November, 2006

Nice thoughts…

First of all, Thanks for not being biased as I find most of information these days.

Secondly, me being a part of 1.3 Billion community can only say that the propogation of information is not as clean(as you said untempered) as it appears. Religion has been used in both communities as politicial influence factor and thus the divergence which ought to be a single community in the first place.

2. stuhasic - 5 November, 2006

Thanks Nabsha,

You are right. “Manfluence” is the reason why we don’t have a single community. It’s the reason Christianity is splintered into so many divisions. Even your “pure” religion is divided into Sunni and Shi’a – how can that be?

Here’s another excellent Dawkins resource – a BBC interview where reason really comes to the fore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWL1ZMH3-54

3. grant - 5 November, 2006

there’s an old sanskrit saying which means honor the god or divine within and is quite a nice way to live your life

om namah shivaya

so much for the old multi-theistic religions

4. Anonymous - 5 November, 2006

You seem to make is clear you haven’t read the bible, and if you have … did you understand it? If you were confused, did you find clarification? Why do people attempt to tear religion apart? What do they aim to achieve, other than wasting their time?

5. stuhasic - 5 November, 2006

Hi Anonymous,

You refer to the Bible, so I’ll assume some form of Christianity on your part. But which form?? Why are there so many different off-shoots when you say “religion” in the singular sense? Why does the world have so many religions? Have you studied any of the others to verify that your chosen religion is right? What if it’s actually wrong, heaven forbid?

6. Gail - 5 November, 2006

I have read a bit about different world religions, but as I am a Christian I will only write from my point of view. It doesn’t really matter how your “brand” of Christianity chooses to worship God. It doesn’t matter which human ceremonies are performed. They are only a human expression, influenced by the country and culture of your birth. The basic Christian belief is that God created a perfect universe; that he created people with free will for companionship; that people do not live the way that God wants us to; that God took on human form to redeem us and allow us to enter his presence. Other differences are unimportant in the big picture. If you believe this, you will attempt to live the way God wants, but you will never be able to be perfect – Manfluence? – hence the need for forgiveness and redemption.

7. stuhasic - 5 November, 2006

Thanks Gail,

By that argument, there’s no difference between Christinity and Islam then. They both believe in one God, they just worship Him differently. Followers of both religions “attempt to live the way God wants”, so you’ll both end up in Heaven together. But why does one religion deny the other? And what if they’re right and you’re wrong? Should htese questions be allowed to be asked?

8. Gail - 5 November, 2006

Christianity is very different from Islam, in that Christians believe that Jesus was God in human form, and that he paid the price for our redemption. We attempt to live in a way that brings honour to God as a response to his great love for us, not as a way of earning brownie points and paying our own way. Questions should always be allowed to be asked – hopefully people who ask are willing to listen to the answers, and also to accept that nobody has them all!

9. Jase - 9 November, 2006

God = Man…think about it. Religion is quite simply a method by which to control people, and a fairly lucrative one at that. Always has been, always will be. 🙂

10. stuhasic - 9 November, 2006

I think you have something there Jase. Problem is, very few people realise it and that means it’s working. 😉

11. Atheist_Bomb - 11 November, 2006

scientology anyone? haha… it’s funny how there are so many followers of scientology… the religion itself sounds ludacris and totally out of whack, but if you take a step back… why is the bible more valid? Heck… why is any religion more valid than scientology? (PLEASE NOTE… i am not in ANYWAY trying to support scientology… none of that mess for me.)

12. 2006 November 11 « Parallel Divergence - 12 November, 2006

[…] This is intended to be a sister article to an article I wrote last week: Which is Stronger: Manfluence or Godfluence? […]

13. hazel8500 - 12 November, 2006

I believe there are more similarities than differences between faiths, and people in general.

So which is stronger? Manfluence or Godfluence? What an intriguing question!

I think they are the same thing realy.

I mean its men who carry out the laws of the faith, whichever one we may be talking about, its men who fashioned many of those laws on the basis of their understandings of whatever constitutes their particular sacred texts (or scriptures or tenets or whatever.)

Its men who write, trnscribe interpret or channel these books and articles of faith… so when it comes right down to it…

its people putting faith in people who claim to represent god’s will.

Well, thats religion for you.

btw, One of the first things I think all religions need to do, if they havn’t yet is embrace women into the priesthood, that might balance the world situation out a bit. But thats another topic altogether.

Religion, doesn’t necesarily have to have anything to do with god.
And religion doesn’t necesarily have to inform a persons belief systems about the universe, its structures and systems its age and composition.

And believing in god, doesn’t necesarily include following any particular religion, or defy scientific endeavors.

PS. I read the sister piece to this one about the hubble killing (the concept of) god, I really like both these pieces

14. stuhasic - 12 November, 2006

Thanks Hazel8500.

You are right. I think more women in everything is needed – religion, politics and government. I’m blessed with a wife that inspires me everyday.

15. David - 12 November, 2006

It’s erroneous to label Christianity as a religion. By modern terms it may seem possible, but in order to maintain correctness it cannot be so. Christianity says the opposite of religion – we are incapable of earning our way into Heaven. If Christianity were to be a religion, it’s adherers would have to try and pursue a “good person” life in order to create an itemized list of good deeds (good deeds being what man thinks are good deeds and not a holy God) to bribe God into the heavenly realm. Religion is man’s attempt at reconciling himself with God. HUGE difference. No amount of prayers, fasts, pilgrimages, etc. is sufficient to overcome man’s lawless depravation. Our righteous works are like filthy garments in the sight of a praiseworthy God. It doesn’t take the Bible to come to that conclusion. The realization of the state of mankind and its wickedness will prepare us for truth. This results in Christianity being the opposite of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, et al. Only a holy God will judge the heart of a man and not his outward presentation.

Richard Dawkins does not understand this. Perhaps he never will. It is not something we can learn by our futile efforts. Our minds are weak and in need of assistance in order to perceive truth – everybody is an idiot. I’m sure Dawkins would retort to that with a self-righteous comment. He limits himself to his perception of reality.

Simply put, men with self-esteem do not bend the knee.

16. charleslemark - 12 November, 2006

wow… good article you got there… actually, this semester, we are studying the History of Religion, and you have contributed alot to my paper.

Manfluence or Godfluence? I dont exactly know. But I hope I’ll get this one. hehehe…

17. stuhasic - 13 November, 2006

Hope it helps you charlesmark.

18. timethief - 13 November, 2006

Ahh … so I have read both articles now. I have noted the claims of the religious commentators to the effect of that who choose to believe that there is no god or, in other words, that man created god are not well versed in religion. Poppycock!
I was raised within the christian evangelical fundamentalist community. I was endowed with a bible school education just as my cousins who are missionaries, pastors, preachers and praise and worship leaders were. However, I came to my senses during my early adulthood. While studying religion in divinty school I recognized that christianity and other religions have done more to divide humanity than they have to unite it. I began to doubt the doctrine and dogma. I became convinced the bible was written by man and was in error. Finally of my own free will became an apostate rather than completing my degree.
I think those who patronize others saying that they just don’t know what the bible or christianity are all about ought to think before they speak. The largest movement within christianity during these last 40 years in developed nations, particularly in North America has been the rush to get out of the out of the flock.

19. joyousthirst - 14 November, 2006

Thank you for these articles—this one and its sequel which raised so much debate—well done! I like the terms you have coined and the questions you have raised—they are excellent questions and have certainly set many of us thinking =)

These are questions that I have pondered in the past and have found, as Gail mentioned, that “manfluence” is not as beneficial as “Godfluence.” Manfluence has led to nothing but heartache and misery, leaving us with a longing to be freed from the things within ourselves that bind us. The only answer is found in the God of the Bible–not in what people say about Him in the various schools of Christian thought, but in what He says about Himself in His word. Why so many divisions of Christianity and other religions? because that’s what “manfluence” does–it divides as each person seeks to do what is right according to his own standard. But there IS a standard–Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” a radical statement from the most redical person that has ever lived. And if we are to know the truth that is better than anything our minds can dream up, we have to go to Him and Him alone.

20. Kilgore Trout - 14 November, 2006

I would have left a message on the other post but its closed. great stuff here. A friend of mine brought up an interesting point one day, by Dogmatic Law god will make it in heaven as you make it on earth or something like that, honestly I only know of it from the movie Dogma, anyway by that it could mean that you will receive exactly what you beleive, theirfor jews can’t go to hell because they don’t believe in one, most christians will go to hell because they gave themselves an insane group of laws to live by. such as any man who has had a sexual thought about a woman who is not his wife is going to hell there so that pretty much means the christian men are going to hell.

BTW I’m an atheist but my friend is jewish and got a minor in Religion in college so he knows what he’s talking about. the whole dogmatic stuff was just a fun mind game one day, and it made me want to be a Pastafarian even more, cause then my heaven will have a stripper factory and beer volcanoes as far as the eye can see… If you don’t know the church of the flying spaghetti monster then your missing out.

For me even as a child god was like the tooth fairy or santa clause, it was a cute story to try to get me to be good. the idea that it was real never even occured to me. Oh and before anyone gets after me about it I did go to church almost evey week untill I was 18 and I went on two mission trips to Gueatemala, My church was a great community organization, the religion stuff was annoying but otherwise it was something I was reluctently happy to be a part of.

One last thing, thanks for the hubble picture, truely amazing picture.

21. Misagh - 14 November, 2006

I love your opening thoughts. It’s true that for most people, the belief which they hold as naturally infallible and the only way is just a matter of their birthplace/circumstances. So obviously this must cause us to stop and think about it, to question our beliefs, to open our minds, to value others’.

This phenomenon of delusional faith in one’s own grey matter is something that i have pondered on since being a wee lad. Why, I’d ask myself whilst musing over Roald Dahl or body slamming one G.I. Joe into another, is it that everyone believes in whatever it is that they think?

The world was flat, definitely flat. And no doubt of its physical centrality in the scheme of all created and no-created things, for why else would Christ grace it with His presence? Those with a hint of melanin in their skin were savages, primitives, sure they were and no buts about it. A woman with a stance was a witch and fit for naught but the infinite abyss of hell (which of course, was and is, a very very hot place), for why else would she display intellect or an opinion? It’s a war we had to have, for sure. And no, no way is poison bad for the earth or for our children. Of course it isn’t. Computers are for NASA, no one will find a use for one nor fit one in a normally proportioned house. And this internet mumbo jumbo will never come to any use.

And yet, with a whole history of ludicrous “definites” behind us, we persist: My god is better than yours, and when he comes back it will be in a pyramid led by white horses on the backdrop of a melting sun, and then you’ll be sorry. This molecule is what causes disease, and that’s that. And I’m sad and that’s why God doesn’t exist, for why would a white man live in a cloud anyhow? Objects travel in straight lines, and why would you be stupid enough to challenge that?

This is why my virtue of patience is challenged when someone says “I don’t believe in that, fullstop.” “If everyone just thought as I do there would be no wars.” Or “I believe in science.” As if I don’t – Science believes in its expanding frontiers, not only in its current self.

Friends and fellow humans, let’s learn from history and hold our horses on closed conclusions. Let’s admit that the 10% of a brain that we might use, with our own limited experience and sub-universal perception, cannot know all.

This brings me to the concept of God. I think if there is an underlying Force and purpose in creation, something linked to our beings and purpose, that is called God – incidentally I do believe in God but as I’ve heard said, “The God you don’t believe in I don’t believe in either :-).” But the existence of God in no way makes us central in the scheme of the universe – in fact it should open our mind to the infinite, and to the fact that no matter how far we travel, there is an infinity further to.

One concept that can explain the dogmatic difference of religious thought is this: If this God exists, and He (for all intents and purposes, though He is not male nor female nor a person) connects with our psyche and conscious mind (which is our soul) through revelation every few centuries or so, it would only make sense if these revelations, which we know as different religions, differed. Each appears in a given time for a given purpose, or to a given people – and those people under those circumstances would benefit from different social laws for the progress of their society and relationships. God would not be contained in a book which is repeated verbatim for eternity by the (sometimes unintelligent confused) lot we call humanity. New ideas and new approaches to the same truths do not necessarily conflict.

It is the spiritual essence of all major world religions that is unchangeable – the Golden Rule, the concepts of love, compassion, sacrifice, detachment, justice and so on. These are infinite concepts which do not date, and are fundamental to all religions. Their social laws and dogma must differ for the needs of their time. Unfortunately, PEOPLE pick out a line from their particular holy book, contain God to it, and consider all else blasphemy. In my opinion, containing God to their quote is blasphemy!

I believe that we know little, and if there is a God, then we struggle to know him in our effort to grow spiritually and improve humanity, our global family. We serve others and see them as equals. God is a paradox, He is everywhere and nowhere, He is uncontainable but contained in the heart. He is unknowable but we live to know… I think that’s fantastic.

And I think you are so right in what you point out – that we should not follow the ways of our forefathers, or what we’re born into, blindly. We should use our mind because if there is a God, that’s what He gave us a conscious mind for. Investigate!

22. paralleldivergence - 15 November, 2006

Thank you for your fantastic post Misagh. Not only do you completely understand what I was trying to say, you put it in words to help others understand. You are so right. “Investigate!”

23. Steve Dolesch - 15 November, 2006

Hubble just opened our eyes to the Creation!

Here’s my thought: Hubble and other telescopes past, present or future have opened and will continue to open our eyes to the wonderous Universal Creation. There is no Creation without Evolution and there is no Evolution without Creation. We did evolve from Stone Aged society to High Tech society. If that’s no proof that from our beginning, Genesis, to the present, we have not evolved it is to ignore both, our Genesis and our Evolution. I’m a Catholic, meaning a “universalist” and embrace Creation and Evolution that go hand in hand, mind and soul, physical and spiritual. Once I understood this, I had evolved and hopefully continue to.

Scientists should not ignore the possibility that God exists, nor should Creationists ignore that Earth has indeed evolved and shall continue to unless we destroy it by our stupidity and closed eyes to what we are doing right now. We are destroying Earth time and time again until we are left with what? What home shall we have in fifty years or so? Shall we be able to launch ourselves “to boldy go where no one has gone before”? Shall we learn to respect ourselves and others who voyage with us on our quest to another world or shall we be ignorant but mostly be stupid and not wanting to learn from our past and present mistakes? Shall we not care for others as did The Good Samaritan did a poor man who was left for dead not just by the bandits but also by the Levite, the Priest? Shall we continue to judge others on the new world or learn not to as Jesus said: “those who have not sinned throw the first stone”. Shall we not welcome our sons and daughters as in the Prodigal Son’s father including strangers? If we don’t learn we shall not survive as a civilisation.

Thank you.

24. Misagh - 16 November, 2006

Thanks for your comment parallel, “Investigate!” is the key!

Steve, I also believe in Creation and Evolution – a creation that had always taken place, just like it always will continue. Why do we struggle with past tense infinity when we can appreciate future tense infinity?! If God is the Creator, then He must always have had a creation, otherwise He would not have been a creative force. But how is another story! 🙂

I believe that Science and Religion are in absolute harmony, the truth is one and indivisible, it is only our understanding that can’t always reconcile different approaches to the truth. As a result of this, truth at any point in time, is relative. It is a continuum, always true, but always progressing.

Just as it is in science – where we believe something only to find the theory superceded or developed further in 10 years – but it was always true, as its pursuit was truth and further truth only resulted from following that truth. I believe Faith is the same, as truth is infinite. But people want to fixate on a given aspect of the truth – such as a given religious dogma – rather than to seek truth further as humanity develops. How far would we get if we did this with science? Metaphorically, people are so fixated on the rising point of yesterday’s sun that they always fail to see the new day’s sun rise in full splendour at a new point in the horizon. It is still the same sun, and the days are in effect one. But why live in yesterday when God’s world moves on?

25. gurzilla - 17 November, 2006

If God actually existed it would be necessary for us to abolish him.
-Mikhail Bakunin

26. René - 18 November, 2006

Of course you are right about “Manfluence”. It determines most of what we all believe, but not all.

We can go on being philosophical for ever. Why not just stop for a minute & look for the nuts & bolts?

If God is God, He should be able to speak. He should be able to provide evidence for us that is pure & unchangeable. He has done that in the Bible.

The evidence: – in the Bible history is written before it occurs. Also, we have 66 books written by over 40 authors over thousands of years, many of whom did not even know about each other and did not even have access to the other “scriptures”. Yet each book has the same or complementary message. Only an author transcending time & space could accomplish this. There is much more, but this should suffice.

The one easily verifiable way that God can prove His existence to us is to tell us the future before it happens. He has done that in a manner that cannot be falsified or attributed to chance alone. The evidence is available for all who wish to find Him.

Best regards.

27. Goofyzshooz - 18 November, 2006

I **love** your term, Creation Week. May I use it?
I am an unfortunate victim of parochial school. I was taught creationism instead of evolution. I
had to TEACH MYSELF evolution, as I am a survivor, not a victim.
Why can’t people of faith follow Einstein’s advice:
I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the
spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.
–Albert Einstein
And that, dear friends, requires research, theories, and the scientific method. Evolution.

28. xirei - 19 November, 2006

I heard a unitarian minister describe religion once in a very interesting way. I will probably not say it as eloquently as he did but the concept was illustrated by a beautiful stained glass window we had in the building.

God/Truth whatever you choose to name it is like the sunlight. The pieces of colored glass represents a religion or idea or way of thinkning about the meaning of life and creation. While each piece on it’s own may have beauty and substance – when you take a few pieces into consideration they will start to form a pattern, a few more and you might see a figure. More and a scene might emerge, or even a whole series of scenes making up a story.

And through that filter we might “see the light” and find some way to make sense of it in our own minds – but it is only throught that lens that we can see anything at all. The light itself – the truth, the creator, whatever it may be is too blindingly brilliant to understand – if there is anything there to understand at all.

That is all a fancy way of saying that the idea that any of us actually *know* who or what or IF God is very presumptive of us, and indeed our concept of religion, or lack of it is colored by our culture and life experience.

That was fine once upon a time when human beings mostly stuck to thier own places in the world and didn’t interact much with other peoples from far off places. But as the world shrinks we have to find more ways to be tolerant of eachother and realise, that really none of us know what the hell we’re talking about. It’s all heresay, isn’t it? All we can do is be good to eachother and hope for the best.

29. hyapadi - 19 November, 2006

Ahh I wish I have good English to be write this kind of writing. I like this post!

Sometimes logic and belief would not agree on each other. That is the time when I questioned my belief OR my logic.

30. yhurg - 20 November, 2006

Nice work on creating two new words. You should work on actual definitions and see about getting them into Wikipedia. That would really inflame Merriam Webster.

There is a book called “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” which I think does a good job providing evidence for Divine Intelligence and God’s plan for man which is depicted in the Gospels. In fact earlier today I posted an entry about it on my blog if you want to check it out.

Religion was always an interference for me in my relationship with God but in the past couple years that has changed and become something different. It is important to remember that no religion is the absolute Truth because religion is a Manfluenced, thus imperfect, form of expression. But this does not mean there is no absolute Truth.

Mankind is seperated in the flesh from its Creator and the Judaeo-Christian Bible reveals our Creator’s plan for us. The intelligent way to challenge what is written is to apply it in one’s life. There is no way to disprove when the first thing one does is discard it. That is like saying sugar is not sweet when you haven’t even tried it.

I think that if science used the Bible as a starting point then we could possibly unveil some of the deeper mysteries contained within it. But science is always more about testing the hypotheses if men vs man’s Creator.

31. paralleldivergence - 20 November, 2006

Thanks yhurg, unfortunately Wikipedia won’t let you create entries about words you made up (it actually says that!). But it seems many people are frustrated by the politics that goes on in churches these days. There may well be something out there driving everything, but I’d rather learn about it myself rather than accepting a man’s word as gospel 😉
Have you seen this interesting site: http://godisimaginary.com ? It’s aimed at intelligent believers.

32. yhurg - 21 November, 2006

Comparing a milk jug to God and using that as a tool to demonstrate that God is imaginary does not seem like something intelligent believers could buy into. On that note, what actually is an “intelligent believer”?

33. paralleldivergence - 21 November, 2006

There’s a lot more to the site than that one video yhurg. What’s an intelligent believer? I’m not really sure. I think they mean someone who has faith in God but is also inclined to or willing to think for themselves and is prepared to listen to opposing views. I guess the “Milk Jug” argument is the perfect defence to put up against the “Banana” – http://youtube.com/watch?v=2z-OLG0KyR4 🙂

34. Abdifatah Suleiman - 23 November, 2006

I believe Godfluence is stronger and Allah influences people effectivelly.

very honest and creative human .. you influenced me with your new words I wrote them on a paper now I have to copy them on my PC. We should only accept postive manfluence Godfluence is stonger forever

35. Roger DUBOST - 25 November, 2006

Hi from France,

Congrats on your web page. I have linked to it on my own modest one, (http://www.infolieux.info/spip.php?article26).

I am trying to post an analysis on hubble’s 100 best, I found your article on “how Hubble killed God”, which made quite some noise and seemed to have drawn som serious audience. I decided to go for a translation of your analysis of the HUDF picture, instead of posting mine, which was unlikely to be any better.

I linked to this page as the original article but was not able to credit you by name. Just let me know if you wish me to do so or want to change anything in the translation.

Thank you for this great writing.


36. bainite - 25 November, 2006

Hey if you are lumping Islam in with Christianity you have a problem, the Koran has been written once and has not been translated, this kind of tampering if forbidden by the Koran.

37. paralleldivergence - 25 November, 2006

Thanks bainite, you’re right, they say it’s forbidden. But in what language did the Prophet Muhammad receive the word that made up the Koran? Has that language changed at all over the past 1400 years? Did he take notes as the Angel Gabriel recited to him over those many years in the cave? Then later he wrote them down, did he misquote at all? Has the Koran ever been translated into other languages? Are there differences in languages that twist meaning in translation? Why are there so many different translated versions of the Koran in English? Are they all the same? And why do some groups of Muslims follow the Koran differently to others? Are the Sunnis right or are the Shi’ites right? No tampering? There’s Manfluence at work for you.

38. timethief - 26 November, 2006

I think the points you have raised above have integrity.
I would like to respond to this point: “Did he take notes as the Angel Gabriel recited to him over those many years in the cave?”

I am of the understanding that both the Apostle John (Book of Revelation) and Muhammad (Koran) had a third party write their visions down for them. If this was the case then even more the opportunity for mis-interpretation, mis-understanding and consequently error presents itself. Moreover, given the times and the backgrounds of both men it’s quite likely that both were actually illiterate. If so then they would have been unable to read and review what had been written by their “scribes” for conceptual accuracy or accuracy when it came to the wording and phraseology choices that were made.

What Christian and Islamic fundamentalists who worship ancient books have in common is clear. They claim the words written in them by men are God-given and without error and must be interpreted literally. Moreover, both claim their God gives them license to kill those who do not share their beliefs.

39. Doma - 27 November, 2006

one of the errors here is the idea that geography is the reason (with its culture) as to ones belief. Yet christianity did not even exist a little over 2000 years ago, so that theory needs to be tossed out. Since its faith spread across the globe. Within 1 generation, the gospel was heard in every nation on the earth.

But let me say this, for those people who claim they are christian because they were born that way, may not even be saved at all.

40. Kebetulan Saja Saya Beragama Islam! « humanizing my life - 27 November, 2006

[…] Sebuah posting dalam blog Parallel Divergene dengan judul Which is Stronger, Manfluence or Godfluence? mengingatkan saya sekitar sepuluh tahun yang lalu. Ketika saya baru mengenal tentang sejarah agama-agama. Saya hanya membaca sekilas posting itu, dan bisa jadi ada kesalahan dalam memahaminya karena memang bahasa Inggris saya pas-pasan.Tetapi, secara garis besar saya sedikit agak paham… he he he […]

41. The Hajj is Peaceful, but is Islam? « Parallel Divergence - 9 December, 2006

[…] As I wrote in the article, Which is Stronger, Godfluence or Manfluence?, Manfluence is all about control – control of entire populations for the benefit of individuals. Islam controls exceptionally well. […]

42. stjarna67 - 22 December, 2006

I have come to believe that religion is like a clothing, or perhaps more like a specific outfit we can wear. Those without religion aren’t necessarily naked in any sense of the word, but those with faith might have a little more choices with wardrobe.

This clothing is usually something handed down from our parents. If parents/guardians present some form of faith; we may be forced to wear something ourselves. Some, after becoming adults, return what they were forced to wear as children – complaining that it never really fit them..or it was scratchy and uncomfortable. Some trade outfits as adults, finding something more appropriate for them. Some taylor their clothes to fit them, piecemealing it from the clothing their parents gave them.

Unfortunately, we have people who feel way too comfortable killing others for not dressing the same way…or make fun of or mock those who don’t wear their style. Then, we have the religious red carpet watchers (like Joan Rivers) who like to point out the flaws in others clothing – all the while, not caring if their own outfits fit or are comfortable.

So many people think that they have to get something off the rack as is, but never think to find something more comfortable…or adjust it as they grow spiritually.

The manfluence here is just one manufacturer and the Godfluence is the whole industry. It’s up to us to choose the quality of the linen. Do we want something that will last or do we settle for the Kathy Lee Gifford sweatshop quality we only wear during Christmas and Easter?


43. Ra - 22 December, 2006

“Christianity accounts for 2.1 billion of the Earth’s population, while Islam makes up 1.3 billion. ”
It´s also revealing to know how suck a big number of people believe in these religions: it all started when the Roman Empire went christian, then all Europe became so. All Latin America is christian because of the savage invasion of the Spanish in the 16th century. Something similar with Africa. Was that God´s will, to spread His word in such a way?

“If I was born in India, I’d probably be a Hindu. If it was Brazil, I’d be Roman Catholic”. Yes. But be aware that this would happen not only with religion, but with everything: the way you dress, the music you like, the language you speak, the way you think, the food you like. Socialization.

44. Ra - 22 December, 2006

i meant “such”, noy “suck”! sorry

45. Ebrahim Rashid - 23 December, 2006

For the Muslims, Islam is and should be a religion by choice. According to the saying of the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his immaculate progeny), every human being born in this world, is a born Muslim. Its their parents who make them Jews, Christians, fire worshippers, etc.

The most important and the most beautiful thing about Islam is, that it gives you the opportunity to question its fundamenatl beliefs. One can ask as many questions as they like about things like existence of God, Justice of God, Prophethood, Successorship of the Prophet and the Day of Judgement. Islam does not encourage its followers to be blind believers or dogmatic.

Whereas in other religions, we are asked to believe in things without any questions. On the contrary, asking questions in matter of religion is considered satanism or devilish act!

If one reads the holy Qur’an, they’ll notice that Allah the Almighty is addressing your intellingence and conscious. You are being asked to ponder over His creation and draw your own conclusion.

Ignorance is the biggest enemy. Bearing this in mind, let’s try to learn things about Islam with open mind and see what has it got to offer for the betterment of onself and those around.

46. oscar - 27 December, 2006

I found that the most interesting part about “God” discussion is that why does the topic “God” exists? If humans are totally made up by nature, “God” should not be in our “dictionary”(cognition) so to speak. There should be no debate about “God” at all because “God” simply not in the made up. However, the “God” topic is in every race across all time lines. It is only in modern time that you hear phrases like “God is dead”( how can “God” is dead if “God” does not exist in the first place? A strange combination of words) and see society that built on the assumption that God does not exist(communist ideals). Why are we obsess with the “God” thingy?

47. diana - 3 January, 2007

Hey your blog is interesting. Came here through a Jerry’s blog. You put forth a question there about tadpoles… kinda funny.

Anyway comment 5 in this thread was your response to an anonymous comment 4,

“You refer to the Bible, so I’ll assume some form of Christianity on your part. But which form?? Why are there so many different off-shoots when you say “religion” in the singular sense? Why does the world have so many religions? Have you studied any of the others to verify that your chosen religion is right? What if it’s actually wrong, heaven forbid?”

I’m curious to know the real answer to his question, as to whether you have read the Bible. Not to test you but to learn about your experience with the religions you’ve read about… I practiced 2 religions devotedly and one curiously before I landed into the Bible. I know why it’s right for me, and you probably know why it’s not right for you. Curious to hear your experience… 🙂

As for manfluence vs Godfluence (interesting words), I believe that in this world manfluence is stronger. If Godfluence really was stronger then this world wouldn’t be a fallen world, and there wouldn’t be so much suffering and hatred. Yes manfluence would for me also include misuseofgodsnamefluence which tries to blind people and take them away from the path of reason, to accept a faith because the only other way is hell, to capture by fear and dominance rather than love- all these sound like manfluences. Godfluence is when the influence of God wins a person over by the methods prescribed by a certain concept of God. That happens, but its not the 2.1 + 1.3 billion statistic.


48. paralleldivergence - 3 January, 2007

Hi diana, thanks for your post! I have not read the entire Bible. But I have fairly extensively studied Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. Christianity (through the Bible) is not right for me because of its many inconsistencies. Plausible stories about Jesus surviving crucifixion (therefore no resurrection) and escaping and living in Kashmir lead me to believe He didn’t die for us. There are many sites about this. Here’s one: http://www.tombofjesus.com/

I agree with your last paragraph.

49. diana - 3 January, 2007

I had a book about Jesus living in Kashmir. I live in India so obviously it would sell here. lol. Anyway for me the deciding thing about my faith is that a) it has to be logical b) it has to be loving c) it has to make me a ‘better person’ (though the definition of that is argued.. lol) d) it should take me closer to God and if another religion is false that one should distance me from him.

Christianity fulfills those conditions and the reason why its so convincing for me is contained in John 7.18:
“The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

which is precisely what your post is about, manfluence vs Godfluence. But this verse talks about Godfluence at a personal and relational level.

“The one who speaks” btw refers I think to the one who speaks about God. Do you think that connects to your post in any way?

Cheers 🙂

50. hazel8500 - 4 January, 2007

Hi Stu, read this a couple of days ago thought of this discussion…
Scientists study how religion affects behaviour

(Relevent Excerpts below)

(Norenzavan) and fellow researchers have been conducting experiments to test how and if belief in God can promote religious hatred or apparently irrational behaviour.

There’s a growing need for an understanding of fundamentalist movements based on observation, rather than on intuition or faith, because of fundamentalism’s apparent link with violence, Norenzayan said.

From Norenzayan’s research, he found faith in God does not make people less tolerant of those who don’t share their beliefs.

Rather, so-called “boundary-setting” tendencies, or dogmatism, seem to be the culprits, he said.

Research participants who agreed with the statement: “My God or belief is the only true one,” were more likely to support violence.

“Here, it becomes really critical to break down religion to its components — what aspect of it, if any, leads to violent behaviours,” he said.

“Are we better off in a world where people believe in God less? I don’t think so,” Norenzayan said.

He added that in other experiments on altruistic behaviour, reminders of the presence of God increased people’s generosity toward strangers.

51. hazel8500 - 4 January, 2007

Ara Norenzayan is a social psychologist at U.B.C. has spent the last five years leading a team of scientists to study how religions spawn violence and intolerance. His findings so far seem in line with my own personal observations, its not religious feeling or thought that creates an environment of violence, its divisive and elitist dogma embraced by a relatively small number of the “faithful”. I feel some relief by considering that these intolerant doctrines are in the minority.

Lets just Love, and Let Love.

Peace, man… 🙂

52. paralleldivergence - 4 January, 2007

Thanks Hazel. I think you’re absolutely right – but what I also think is that if this fundamentalist minority (in any religion) is acting this way in the name of your religion, then it is up to the majority of that religion to strongly oppose and denounce the fundamentalists. Whilst ever the majority are silent, it makes others outside the faith believe that they secretly agree with the fundamentalists.

Stand up and fight for your religion against the enemy within. It will make a huge difference with external perceptions.

Diana, the verse does refer to “Manfluence vs Godfluence”, but I’m not sure that it refers to “the one who speaks” about God. I believe it refers to anyone who has ambitions of power – on any basis. This verse is against any heirarchy of power among Man. Strangely enough all churches seem to be working against that verse.

I’m assuming you weren’t born in India, Diana. If you were born there to Indian parents, what would be the chance of you being a Christian now?

53. diana - 4 January, 2007

I don’t know about all churches but some do (seem to) go against it. And you’re right about your interpretation of the verse, I think, I was thinking in terms of people who seek power by speaking about God but whatever both ways work lol. Yours is broader.

I was born in India to Indian parents and I followed hinduism very rigidly when I wasn’t being an atheist. I became Christian only a year and some months ago after reading a Bible someone gave me. And there are others I know like me, even in my own class at university who are Christian apart from their families.

In my walk with Christ, there has been no manfluence cos while I was reading the Bible I had no help through it and I knew no local christians. My parents are conservative and I’m forbidden from going to church, so I’ve never attended a church service. I testify that Godfluence can be very powerful, and that Godfluence is not the power that leads the world. Like we agreed before, if Godfluence was the most powerful thing in the world there would also be more godliness.

So you’re an atheist, right?

54. paralleldivergence - 4 January, 2007

Good for you Diana! You’ve done exactly what my newest article (“7 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Brain”) says people should do. Break the cycle! Don’t blindly accept what your parents say and investigate. I’m very pleased you’ve arrived into a situation where you are happy (at least you sound like you are). You don’t need a church to tell you how you should think either. So kudos to you for that.

As for me, I’ve followed a similar path, with a scientific education that forces me to question. Stephen F. Roberts once said: “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”


55. diana - 4 January, 2007

Yep definitely happy. I don’t think faith is something that can be imposed on one by another person, while belief can. The two are different and sometimes it is possible to believe but not have faith. Faith comes the way it comes.

I have always believed that questioning is good for your conscience. It’s always great to ask questions because you can only get answers if you ask questions. Although some religious groups teach people to blindly accept teachings “or be subject to the fires of hell”, I believe Jesus himself said “ask”. And an apostle later confirmed “you do not have, because you do not ask.” Here neither of them referred to asking for material wealth but both referred to wisdom and the holy spirit and love and other godly gifts.

I find it fascinating how two people reading the same texts can draw such vastly different conclusions from the same words. I guess it is not upto one to judge another, but only express personal conviction. And in my opinion closeness to God is best judged by how much “God” you can see in everything.

But you have one fewer god than I do, lol. That is a cool quote. Very cleverly worded. So how did you get interested in religion, or are you interested in it? Religious debates fascinate me where there are open minds and logical reasoning. I just read your post about Hubble and I found it fascinating. I might link to it soon… it closely relates to something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Not the scientific bit but the spiritual bit.

Blessed to have found your blog. May I link to you?


56. paralleldivergence - 4 January, 2007

Thanks for the kind words Diana. I’m happy to discuss with anyone. I was even surprised at how you can have a civil discussion with Muslims at the end of my “The Hajj is Peaceful, but is Islam?”. It’s nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the nature of people. We can all agree to disagree, but we can also all learn from each other, as long as there are genuine two-way conversations. I thank you for yours.

The “Hubble” article is clearly one that can be taken two ways. Some readers chose to be ignorant of the whole article and based comments solely on the “sensationalist” title. I’m pleased you saw a very positive message behind it. I did too when I put it together. Fundamentalists and extremists are the real problem of the world, regardless of the religion.

As for linking to my blog, absolutely! But only if I can blogroll yours. I’ve always wanted to find out more about the second most populous nation on Earth. Take care.

57. diana - 4 January, 2007

Okay, you’re on my blogroll 🙂 thanks. Of course you can blogroll mine 🙂

I enjoyed your post about the Hajj & Islam. I agree that misinterpretations by leaders often mislead the followers of religions but sometimes it just happens that a quote from the scriptures is taken out of context and sensationalised. Like with christianity, you could say “Jesus compared the syrophonecian woman to a dog!” and then label him as a male chauvinist, but if you read it in context and also see his attitude to other women you might have a different opinion. There are women I know who say that Muhammed lived a noble life by equalist principles while Jesus was dominating and chauvinistic, and it’s kind of obvious when a person’s thoughts are based on the texts themselves and when they are based on other people’s interpretations of them.

I love questioning everything like I said before, and that helps me in two ways- firstly when someone else wants to prove a point I’m totally willing to go into their scriptures to look with them, and when they want to know my side of it I already know why I believe whatever the point in question is (most of the times!) so it’s easier to answer. It makes for very pleasant debate when both sides are well informed about their own beliefs, and for equally disastrous results when all that either side can come up with is “uhhh.. I don’t know but if you don’t believe this, you will go to hell! aaah”

About your Hubble post I want to tell you that as I read through it I felt a little shiver through my heart and I felt excited at the awesomeness of God. It totally drew me closer to God because of all the wonderful things he has created in all the universe. Btw the Bible doesn’t say that God created everything for man, it says he created everything for himself, for his glory. That is logical. If God is the one point where the highest love, joy and power combine, what higher purpose can there be for anything, except God himself?

Manfluence teaches that God created everything for man, Godfluence teaches that God created everything for God. The one who seeks the glory of him who sent him- in him there is no falsehood.

The Bible also does not say that the universe is 6000 years old. The problem again is interpretations. The post I want to write, where I want to link to your Hubble post, is based on what the Bible says vs what people want to read. How unnecessary quarelling comes out of things that the Bible never said. And instead of being in awe of this wonderful universe which God has created, we find ourselves warring against it. It’s such a waste of the glorious resources we have.

This comment got long, and not a bit off-topic, sorry about that. I’m just really glad to have stumbled upon your blog and I wish you all the best.


58. Bid'ah=Sesat=Tidak Beragama? « Generasi Biru - 30 March, 2007

[…] dan dipercaya jadi patokan itu adalah murni? Seorang Parallel Divergence sudah menyinggungnya disini. Hanya saja ia seorang atheis yang mempertanyakan bukan hanya ajaran agama tetapi juga keabsahan […]

59. Salafy Bikin Ulah Lagi. Dan Kali Ini saya Tidak Boleh Diam™ « I’m not King, Queen, or Gods. I’m just Slankers - 26 April, 2007

[…] orang, ataupun nama apapun termasuk nama band dan penggemarnya. Ga usyah jauh jauh dech, seorang atheis macam Parallel Divergence saja, menghormati dengan baik nama saya, padahal saya memberikan komentar […]

60. Ketika Tuhan Telah Mati « Parking Area - 12 July, 2007

[…] Agama adalah hasil karya pikir manusia, dan manusia beragama karena faktor keturunan. Jadi misalnya anda atau saya lahir dari orang tua yang tidak beragama maka anda atau saya tidak akan beragama. Kenapa? Karena kita tidak mewarisi agama dari orang tua kita. Lalu apa hubungannya dengan tuhan? Agama itukan adalah serangkaian kepercayaan, dan kegiatan yang lazimnya disebut ibadah/ritual dalam rangka menyembah yang maha kuasa. Masalah kepercayaan apa yang terangkai dan apa nama sesembahan anda silakan anda buka kitab agama anda masing masing. […]

61. Salafy Bikin Ulah lagi, Kali Ini Saya Tidak Boleh Diam « Mereka Bicara Salafy n Wahabi - 3 January, 2008

[…] orang, ataupun nama apapun termasuk nama band dan penggemarnya. Ga usyah jauh jauh dech, seorang atheis macam Parallel Divergence saja, menghormati dengan baik nama saya, padahal saya memberikan komentar […]

62. Barry H. Browning - 5 November, 2009

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?

paralleldivergence - 5 November, 2009

Oh. My. G-D. Dear Mr Browning. I would like to say thank you for taking me on a wondrous journey at 6:30am on a Thursday in 2009. This article and its sister, “How Hubble Killed God” have sat here for a few years now, attracting comments in a massive spurt up-front, then trickles ever since. But no reader comment has ever kept me as intrigued and awestruck as yours.

Your use of extended ellipses (four dots instead of three) gave me the image that you were clearly pausing to think about what to say as you were composing the response, all the time causing the reader (myself in this case), to pause to reflect on what was just stated….to very powerful effect. The care you took in crafting your response is also most appreciated. I swear I could not spot a single typo. I even Googled some of the text to see if this was not some cut-and-paste-job, but lamentably, Google, with its bill-yuns and bill-yuns of references could not find a match. I feel honored that your contribution was composed just for me (and every other fortunate visitor who visits this article in the future).

In response to what you actually had to say, you are right. Odds are, 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.

63. Barry H. Browning - 5 November, 2009

Barry Browning says, and this to Stu Hasic….

“Thank you so much for your kind response!”

….More below:

Oh. My. G-D. Dear Mr Browning. I would like to say thank you for taking me on a wondrous journey at 6:30am on a Thursday in 2009.

…I must see my solicitor…the will clearly needs updating…

This article and its sister, “How Hubble Killed God” have sat here for a few years now, attracting comments in…

… a massive spurt up-front, then trickles ever since.

….(vigorous slapping of the hands, and initial response deleted)…

But no reader comment has ever kept me as intrigued and awestruck as yours.

…As they say….”Thank you for the flowers!”

Your use of extended ellipses (four dots instead of three) gave me the image that you were clearly pausing to think about what to say as you were composing the response, all the time causing the reader (myself in this case),

….how is it put….”Engage-brain-before-opening-mouth”….

to pause to reflect on what was just stated….to very powerful effect.

…Quite the nicest compliment I’ve been paid in a long time…

The care you took in crafting your response is also most appreciated. I swear I could not spot a single typo.

….Well…..a “Small College in (the former District of) Maine(U.S.A.)”…

…..wherein our late President….the “Jolly” Roger Howell….a Rhodes Scholar, naturally…was the only American ever to teach English Literature at Oxford….some of this may have rubbed off….I sincerely hope it is not overly contagious…

I even Googled some of the text to see if this was not some cut-and-paste-job,

…No, I come by my hyperbole honestly….

….”Raised and trained for a world which no longer exists”…

but lamentably, Google, with its bill-yuns and bill-yuns of references could not find a match. I feel honored that your contribution was composed just for me (and every other fortunate visitor who visits this article in the future).

…Well….I….may just have too much time on my hands….

In response to what you actually had to say, you are right.

…Well….what I wrote made sense to me….and if we test our point of view publicly, sometimes we are lucky enough to have it tempered by those wiser-than-us….

….Suffice it to say that it is like when one reads a great book….It leaves one with that comforting feeling that “one is not entirely alone in one’s thoughts”….

Odds are, 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.

…Or may already have been here.

(…Or may already be here now.)

…As I say….I don’t go running about worrying about “where the little green men are”, but I do follow with interest what happens in space, and this at least, to the extent that I may run into people who have a more direct experience of these things…..

….and no, I am not privy to any special information about any of this….just regular news reports and published sources….

…..but it just makes sense…..that….you-know….

Thank you Mr Browning.

…Well….thank you! I’ve enjoyed it…..and if you care to forward your direct e-mail address, I can send you under separate cover my response to your initial article.


64. If God Was an Alien… « Parallel Divergence - 7 November, 2009

[…] 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 […]

65. Joe Bloggs - 4 January, 2014

I’m a bit late to the party. I often hear from Christians that you cannot “do” anything to earn your way to heaven, then the complete opposite tenant is presented. You cannot earn your way to heaven. Yay, then I don’t have to do anything. Well, no, you must “accept the gift of salvation”. Oh, ok. So it’s kind of like UPS, I get a free gift, but I have to sign for it. Ok, whatever, I’ll sign for it. Yay, I go to heaven. No, not really, because if you aren’t excited about God and going to church and being a witness, you probably never were “saved” in the first place. Aha, so I must not just sign for the gift, I must use it or my faith is “dead”. Got it. So, I have to do something once I am saved…wait, you said I wouldn’t have to do anything to earn salvation. Well, you aren’t earning it, you are proving that you accepted it. OK, so it’s really just a matter of symantics. No matter what, you are saying that I can’t passively get into heaven, I must do a few things. No Christian will admit that you get into heaven by works, yet that is exactly what you must do: Accept, believe, live by faith. That is not a gift, that is a paycheck.

Barry H. Browning - 5 August, 2015

Barry (H.) Browning attempts a reply: Please see ellipses…below….

65. Joe Bloggs – 4 January, 2014
I’m a bit late to the party.
….That means that you are right-on-time! Let people spin things out & then see what you can make of it. And there’s a decent chance that time itself is not a “past-present-future” linearity, but that there’s some point outside of what we think of as “time” which is as it were, “timeless”.

…So know that what you have contributed has its place in time at the time when you contributed it.
(or at least I think it is!)

I often hear from Christians

….This is the first problem we have to deal with: Who are “Christians” and who are not? There are any number of sectarians claiming the title of being “Christian”, but what they mean by it can vary radically & at times, dramatically.

that you cannot “do” anything to earn your way to heaven,

….and now you have to come up with what “heaven” means, and if what you may think of as “heaven” is what those you are dialogging with mean by it. (I myself see “heaven”, if the term means anything, as both imminent & transcendent.)

….And here too, we have a “Za-Zen”….

….We are forcing a contradiction to extremes, & with a motive: “Earning a gift” is contradictory in the extreme, and by entertaining it as a rational possibility, we force ourselves into the sort of extreme tension which launches us into a confrontation with & experience of the Infinite…

then the complete opposite tenant is presented. You cannot earn your way to heaven.

….Well, the complete opposite is embraced as if it were not contradictory, which it logically is, but the net effect of doing it is to hurl you into a transformed state of thinking whereby you can experience the infinite through the infinite’s contradictoriness.

Yay, then I don’t have to do anything.


Well, no, you must “accept the gift of salvation”.


….and now the union-of-opposites makes you “understand the incomprehensible”; “experience-the-inexperiencable”, and this “mind-bending” takes you outside of yourself enough to have an epiphany.

Oh, ok. So it’s kind of like UPS, I get a free gift, but I have to sign for it.

…Yeah, that’s right, it’s sort of an “advertising lie”….it’s “free”, but you have to sign for it…and now they have your email address & can hit you up with more advertising, if not steal your personal data enough to rip you off…

Ok, whatever, I’ll sign for it. Yay, I go to heaven.

…You “make the decision”, you “make the commitment”, and-see-what-you-get….It’s the classic “Hero’s Journey”.

….No-free-ride…you have to have the guts to make an existential decision & take what you get…

No, not really, because if you aren’t excited about God and going to church and being a witness, you probably never were “saved” in the first place.

….You can’t be “excited about G-d” unless you have from your OWN experience, a concept of what “G-d” is or might be, & by “trying that on for size”, you find out what happens. You “follow the directions & take what you get”….

…or another way of looking at it is “Trust me”…

…The same way that Lucy asks Charlie Brown to trust that she’s going to hold the ball out for him to kick & won’t remove it before he does….

(but she can’t be trusted, can she?).

Aha, so I must not just sign for the gift, I must use it or my faith is “dead”.

…Or in other words, “I promised you something if you’d just do this one thing, but now I have ANOTHER thing for you to do first”….
…And how long will THAT go on, if you let it? Or how do the put it: “Fool-me-once, shame-on-you; fool-me-twice, shame-on-me!”.

Got it. So, I have to do something once I am saved…

….More like you’ve invested yourself…”on-trust” so far….
wait, you said I wouldn’t have to do anything to earn salvation.

…Oho, so you’re THINKING! So you can see the fallacy in what you’ve been promised, and what they now want you to do.

Doesn’t that make you just a tiny bit suspicious? (It-does-me!)

Well, you aren’t earning it, you are proving that you accepted it.

…How does it go….there are bumpersnickers on cars all over the U.S. Southland which say, “G-d-said-it, I-believe-it, &-that-settles-it.”…

….But does it? Time to ask some questions here, I’d say…(and I’d start by questioning the first part of that…”G-d-said-it”.)

OK, so it’s really just a matter of symantics.

…It CAN be if you accept THEIR limitations. But who said you have to?

(What was it that the late Greek Billionaire Aristotle Onassis used to say…”The first rule is that there are no rules”.)

No matter what, you are saying that I can’t passively get into heaven, I must do a few things.

…Theism is somewhat of a Western World thing…”The Road to Holiness necessarily passes through the world of Action” is how the U.N.s leader Dag Hammerskjold put it..(but the C.I.A. put a stop to that, & to him, some people say…sigh….)

No Christian will admit that you get into heaven by works, yet that is exactly what you must do: Accept, believe, live by faith. That is not a gift, that is a paycheck.

…and it is unfortunately only too good a paycheck for those asserting for themselves an exclusive franchise on a relationship with the Infinite which one is better advised to initiate & experience on one’s own.

But too many people are only too willing to write someone else a paycheck for what they should be doing for themselves.

And not a few of these are getting screwed & yet refuse to see it for what it is: a scam.

(But sometimes the scam, if discovered, leads one to enlightenment!)

…And if you have an INFINITY of time to wait it out…..(& I suspect that we DO)….

…then it doesn’t much matter in the long run, because sooner or later, you’re going to try things out for yourself….even if it does take you an eternity to do so…

….and the infinity “can afford to wait”…and so can you.

…and you can keep screwing it up until you get it right.

…you can keep trying out light bulb filaments, as Thomas Edison did, and sooner or later, one will make the bulb light up..

….and if you have an eternity to wait until you wise up & try things for yourself….”you’ve got time”…





66. Bid’ah=Sesat=Tidak Beragama? | Generasi Biru - 18 July, 2018

[…] Parallel Divergence sudah menyinggungnya disini. Hanya saja ia seorang atheis yang mempertanyakan bukan hanya ajaran agama tetapi juga keabsahan […]

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68. หนังโป้ - 11 October, 2018

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