Friday 30 November 2018

What is the primary cause of the decline of Western civilisation?

That it is declining is obvious to anyone who looks at the question from a spiritual perspective even if, for those who think materialistically, it may seem to be riding high at the moment.

For some thoughts on the subject see Albion Awakening.

Thursday 22 November 2018

What Does Christianity Have that Buddhism Doesn't?

I wrote this as a comment in reply to a question on the Free Will and Evil post. The image popped into my head as I was writing my reply and because I think it does illustrate something important about the difference between the two religions I have rescued it from its relative obscurity there and brought into the (relative!) light of day.

I wrote as follows:

"The Buddhist position is a well-established and coherent one and is worth taking very seriously even if, as I believe, it does fall at the final hurdle.

What I mean is that it approaches consciousness by going to its roots and seeing these as primal which they may be but then that ignores that roots grow and give form to branches, flowers and fruit etc, and these can't just be dismissed. They are part of the whole thing and maybe the reason for the whole thing. In terms of creation or manifestation anyway. So, I think that is what the position you mention does (Note: the Buddhist position of liberation from all aspects of the phenomenal world).  It's a valid position but I think it misses the purpose of our being here and having these pesky selves in the first place. It essentially misses out on the truth of relationship which, when all is said and done, might be at the heart of the reason for everything that is and why there is something rather than nothing."

This is what religions and philosophies that, in whatever way, reject the reality of the created world do.  They ignore purpose and they think that the relative (as one might call it) adds nothing to the absolute. But God is creative almost above all else and what he creates is not only good but always adds more to the whole. Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Ultimately it is the life more abundant that distinguishes the Christian vision from the Buddhist.

What are the Signs of a Civilisation in Decline?

Saturday 17 November 2018

Free Will and Evil

Does everything that happens do so in accordance with God's will?  Or, to put it another way, is evil part of the plan for the unfoldment of spiritual consciousness?

People have long struggled to make sense of why there is evil in the world if God is both loving and omnipotent. It seems to many that either he doesn't care about the evil or he is unable to stop it, neither of which is very reassuring. The traditional Christian response is that human beings fell at one point early on in their history, and evil came into the world through the misuse of free will. If you want to have a fully conscious and free good then you have to have the possibility of evil as well. I think this is correct as far as it goes but it doesn't answer the question completely for, after all, if we take the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden seriously (I don't mean literally), then we must ask what was the serpent doing there in the first place? Clearly evil was already up and running.

God creates a universe that is properly alive. What this means is that he creates beings who are free because only in this way can real love and real goodness be expressed. Only by doing this can God have a world which is created but also creates itself and so is more interesting to him. The free will of created beings is absolutely essential to this end. However, according to the scriptures, one of the greatest of created beings, a mighty angel, rebelled against God's plan for creation and dragged many other angels down with him. These demons constantly war against the Creator. They have corrupted the natural world and also humanity and they continue to do that. What is their aim? Why should any being rebel against God? The answer usually given is pride but I imagine it is more complicated than that. Love of power, the desire to be worshipped themselves, hatred of a goodness to which they cannot match up because of their wrong choices will all have played a part in their downfall and will continue to ensure a lack of repentance.

What all this amounts to is that this world is a damaged environment due to the activity of these fallen powers. Now, God could eradicate their influence by speaking a single word. He could banish all suffering and return to the world to a pristine innocence. But that would effectively mean destroying the world. Once God has given free will to his creation, he cannot withdraw it. If he could, it would not have been really given in the first place. A conditional free will, one dependent on making the right choices, is not free will at all. So, God is all loving and he is omnipotent but he has resigned some of his power and given it to his creatures in the form of free will. To get back that power, which he could do if he wanted, would mean returning his creation to the complete reflection of himself and he does not want that. He wants it to have its own individuality so that eventually (this is my notion, I'm not sure if it is orthodox) it may be his loving bride. That is what this whole process of creation and unfoldment through time is all about. 

There is, therefore, no contradiction between God being loving and omnipotent. His omnipotence is total but voluntarily and necessarily restricted so that we might have some power which is essential if we are to be real individuals.

Jesus ransomed the world from the devil who had usurped this earthly kingdom from its creator. Whether the devil had originally been assigned a vice-regent position which he abused or whether he, as it were, stole the world is not clear. What is clear is that he took it over, and it needed the Incarnation to put things right. Not that they are right yet because that depends on humanity's full acceptance of spiritual truth but the groundwork for the redemption and salvation of the world has been laid. Satan's power has been overturned and he is now, hard as it may be to believe, on the defensive. But, of course, as is obvious, he still has great power because we are still so recalcitrant to truth.

The conclusion here is that the evils of the world are mostly caused by the dark powers whom we aid and abet by responding to evil within ourselves. God can use evil to bring about good but this is not a justification for evil which is wholly bad and not part of God's original intention for his creation. Our suffering in this world is therefore not ordained by God. Some suffering is spiritually creative but it has to be recognised that some suffering is simply due to the power of the demons in the world and forms no part of God's will. It does not have some ulterior spiritual purpose even if it can be used to some ulterior spiritual purpose because God can bring good out of ill.