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In the past, long-gone days, when I used to mark essays submitted to me, students’ discussion habitually started with dictionary or textbook definitions. I always used to berate and take them to task for lack of originality, for starting with someone else’s notion of a particular concept. And so I would here, except that, for some concepts – such as duty – one is ineluctably bound to start from the other position. Take another abstract, art, for example. Asking the question “what is “art”?” neither requires nor is conditional on either a concrete example or an input. That is not to say that one may not be educated to the nth degree in any of the fine arts as a means to understanding. Of course, that is eminently possible: merely that it is not essential. My grand-daughter’s understanding of “art” or, perhaps, aesthetic values, as an illustration, is already well developed at the age of three with no input from me (or anyone else, for that matter). Though I do not share her notion of the suitableness of virulently tinted almost fluorescent candy-pink coloured clothing for everyday wear, her own feelings on the matter are quite emphatic. Wendy’s notion of “duty”, on the other hand – even as an abstract idea, let alone in terms of what it is she must do – is not yet formed. Perish the thought that it should at that age! In this sense, then, duty always has to come from an external, an “other”. Whereas, once upon a time, a general idea, “duty” might have been susceptible to individual interpretation, nowadays the notion of duty is incorporated into law: the “duty of care”, (or, more accurately, the lack of) for example, in statute is enforceable and its omission punishable. In previous ages, particularly the 18th and 19th centuries in Western civilization, codes of gentlemanly conduct were never written down: there was no need – those things that made a gentleman a gent were generally known and accepted by all. Frequently copied or aped, and always the stock-in-trade of novelists and dramatists alike (reaching its apotheosis in the plays of Oscar Wilde), the real thing could never, ever, be mistaken for the counterfeit beyond a certain point. That it could be copied by transformation was entirely down to a code of behaviour, which could (and still can) be summed up in one word- “duty”. Some would argue that the “gentleman” is now defunct, and dead as a dodo precisely because this code, this sense of duty no longer obtains. It may be that because duty now has to be defined in law, and its lack proscribed, as I have observed above, the demise of the Western gent fact. Were the Victorian gentleman, however, to be neglectful in his duty, the proscriptions against him were equally severe if not absolutely enshrined in legalese. When I was a lad, I was a member of an organisation that had as its motto: “Country (or Nation), Fellow-man, and Christ”. The movement’s highly respected founder rather neatly (and quite deliberately, I suspect) reversed the traditional English “For God, King and Country”, but the effect is, largely, the same,
depending on your point of view) more recent discoveries show that matter is permeable. from the Gnostic perspective. behave completely unlike a solid/liquid. the answer depends: Pascal’s wager seems a more reasonable proposition now that the evidence base has changed. Some theoretical physicists suggest parallel universes. Unfortunately (or not. By the same token it is eminently possible that other beings might inhabit the spaces where we fondly imagine we have sole occupancy. Just to sidetrack. Merely that from my own point of view it has to be the Christian god. more than one (god). of course. in terms of Christian tradition. the most up-to-date scientific research. or gods. So there might be a God.” (Ex. there are spaces in between atoms.20:3) Logically. Starting with duty to God. Lizzie. In my opinion there are and. particularly in the realms of theoretical physics shows that our reality may not actually be all it appears to be. the Goddess.the inescapable and ineluctable inference being that one owed a duty – no-matter whether first. first. middle or last in the list to the three entities in turn: taking King and fellow-man as synonymous for the moment. Walking through a solid wall doesn’t now sound nearly so ridiculous a proposition when the evidence shows liquid nitrogen dripping through solid glass. The point being. That is not to say that starting from other gods. In the halcyon days of pre-quantum physics. etc) England and Saint George!”” so that there is all the more reason for thinking persons to enquire more deeply about the reasoning that lies behind that imperative. the first deity is female. Kate. As always. for example. universes within universes and holographic universes. the question is then what duty do we owe this superior being or beings? The answer to this knotty issue largely depends on our . and within or inside atoms and matter can. that the god of the Old Testament by whatever name (who is. atoms were regarded as pretty solid things: if our world was filled with atoms there could not be room for anything else. (Arguable. one is bound to ask “which god?” for starters. Liquids cooled to temperatures approaching absolute zero. identical in every respect with that of the new) can abide no rivals: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. in the sense that it now seems entirely reasonable to claim that other entities can exist in the spaces between the spaces. I realise!) Nowadays it’s quite fashionable to “Cry “God for Harry (Wills. Almost unavoidably. for a moment. Or there might not. raised and lived in Britain. writing from the perspective of having been born. (Even if those entities are ourselves in parallel universes!) Having made our choice. and more like an electromagnetic wave (think of light). by extension. as even the text upon which the whole of Christianity is based acknowledges that there is. assuming one believes in the possibility of the divine as a being or beings one has a choice of nomenclature. in fact. questions of godhood have to be discussed. from other traditions is not valid – generally. Charlie. pass through substances previously held to be impermeable. and does under certain conditions.
I do not maintain that we are actually clever enough א http://www. Allow me to start with that. Once more. drought. I find both these doctrines quite abominable and genuinely perverse. Here is not the place to tease out the justifications and counter-argument for this assertion. etc. Given the sum total of human intelligence there should be no famine. chief among which – from the burning desire to be lauded without end an inferiority complex of gargantuan and utterly incomprehensible magnitude. (I would refer confirmed sceptics who appreciate a good laugh to Mark Twain’s Letters From Earth.htm . preventable disease on the planet.skin deep – and never consistent at that. age. first. There is so much anecdotal and apocryphal evidence amasses over the ages from practically every civilization to the effect that gods exist.org/hist/twainlfe. That there is famine. in particular. My own opinion is that though we preen ourselves on being civilized. that the creator God/dess merits ceaseless aeons of praise chanted by people with harps. one answer in two parts. And of course the evidence base. to go into it here. . Most. That doesn’t mean to say. our civilized-ness) there would have to be evidence for that. drought. In the context of duty. ancestry and longevity.)א My reason for supporting Twain’s view is that to justify the endless harping in heaven that he describes we have to impute to these deities. however. So acknowledging her existence might not be a bad idea. Or. ignorance. about our being toys and playthings of the divine is more vexed for. it is only a veneer. we have to attempt an answer based upon what we may reasonably surmise: some of the factors are intelligence. The question of whether or not we own a duty to praise our Creator depends upon this imputation of a human psychological complex. rather. not congruent with our current state of civilization. . very human characteristics. lies the classic Catholic doctrines of sin and of free will. The second point. at its heart. By extension. however.own view of ourselves within the cosmos. Really? To justify such a claim on the basis of a superior state of being (viz. . of the world’s civilizations acknowledge a creator God/dess. anywhere in the world is ample evidence that we are emphatically and collectively not intelligent beings. therefore. Jehovah/God. the second answer largely depends upon the actual and presumed degree of benignity we ascribe to the deity/ies.positiveatheism. Are we here by accident? Were we created as some essential component in a divine or cosmic game? Were we made as toys or playthings for the entertainment of more developed beings? And on it goes. I maintain that there are two wholly rational answers. if not all. not o say pointless. Most of this we declare to be mumbo-jumbo. Are we truly civilized? That evaluation requires such a subjective response that it would be impossible. unemployment.
Even though we.to be able. Even our own mythologies and theologies suggest that this is so. please? And. As a Luciferian-Gnostic. indeed. provided we acknowledge their existence. but. clearly. the answer is clear to me. to claim that gods or spirit-beings of any kind do not exist. logic suggests that the contrary is. ancestry and longevity can only be answered through the mythological/theistic record: and these go back long enough to provide some answers. While some may. possible. and some the same. bear with me. Much as we might like to thinks so. So if one concedes the possibility that invisible beings exist alongside us. in any case I would refer you to the penultimate sentence of the previous paragraph!) In fairness. it doesn’t necessarily follow that we can use our own feelings as a reliable guide to attitudes these beings have towards us. collectively speaking. . it follows that some will be cleverer. Christianity could not exist without its very own antihero: Satan. almost but not quite of of our universe. have our best interests at heart. (I know that this asseveration begs a whole string of put-you-downs. Are they intelligent? There is absolutely no reason not to imagine so. Why should some numinous beings not be at least as intelligent as humans are. Those that enjoy fairy tales are well ware that some species of troll are quite stupid. at the very least. it does not necessarily follow that every supernatural being has benign. Questions of age. and some stupider. categorically. it is also possible that some are not. know what our own feelings are towards supernatural entities.
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