Thursday, 7 January 2021

The Absolute Necessity of Christ Today

When I started this blog nearly 8 years ago I didn't write about current events going on in the outer world. I focused entirely on spiritual concerns because that was my area of interest. The world had clearly entered into a phase of greater materialism and atheism than ever before but the insanity had not spread so far as to have become the all-enveloping thing it is now. The growth of spiritual evil (meaning the denial of God and the laws of creation and actions and thoughts springing from that) was apparent but it hadn't swept away all traditional understanding which was based on the recognition of God and the objective reality of nature. People weren't actively spiritual but nor were they actively anti-spiritual.

But now they are. Now the beliefs enforced by society, by academia, by the media, by science and by every branch of human thought and activity up to and including most churches, are actively anti-spiritual and so now I do feel it necessary to comment on the outer world occasionally. In the not too distant past a person could lead a life based on true spiritual principles and not be ostracised by society. That is becoming increasingly difficult. Now, if you wish to follow God and live a life in accordance with the values and truths of creation, you must say about most things in the outer world. "This is wrong." You may not yet be required to say it publicly but you must say it to yourself.

And this is why we need Jesus. He is the lodestone of truth. Referring back to the post about a review of my Remember the Creator book, I was criticised for emphasising in that book the spiritual supremacy of Christ by someone who had found his path in Eastern religion. I won't repeat what I said there but I would like to say that I don't think Eastern religions (as practised by Westerners, I should stress) can save people from absorption by the evil that has taken over the world today. They can be too easily accommodated to that, especially if they are of the non-dualistic sort (which most are in one way or another) which do not give proper reality to creation or distinguish sufficiently between what is in heaven and what is on this earth. If you are directing your attention to a purely spiritual state in which the created world only exists as a basically unreal phenomenon then you will be unequipped to confront the reality of spiritual evil which means you will either let it pass or, more likely, be absorbed by it to some degree. Unless you stand against it, fully and whole-heartedly, you will become part of it. The only way to do this, to stand against it, is to recognise Christ who through his incarnation has given full reality to creation. It always was part of the divine but the incarnation has made it, and everything in it, completely so. 

I wrote the above a couple of days ago. Coincidentally, Bruce Charlton published a similar piece yesterday about the shortcomings of what he calls Oneness spirituality, essentially non-duality, the form of mysticism in which everything is boiled down to the Absolute and the created world and the individuals in it have minimal meaning. I made the following comment which (slightly edited) will serve to conclude this post. 

The inadequacy of Oneness as a spiritual path is becoming more clear in the context of the present world. Its great weakness is that it cannot fight evil because it doesn't recognise evil and is therefore absorbed by it. Its practitioners won't admit to that but that is the effective outcome of a Oneness doctrine. In a way, Oneness is a sort of spiritual materialism as it focuses entirely on quantity (that quantity being 1), dismissing quality as somehow illusionary or, at least, on a second and insignificant level of reality. However, creation is all about investing life with quality. Oneness sees no need in creation and can't explain it.

A spiritual attitude in which everything is seen as one cannot distinguish properly between good and evil and nor can it deal with a material world which has been corrupted. You cannot deny the corruption by claiming that all is one. The worlds of spirit and matter have different rules and to treat the material world as though it were the spiritual will not work. You get to heaven by overcoming the world not by pretending it already is heaven. And the way for us to overcome the world is through Christ who was the first to overcome the world himself and not just escape it.



edwin faust said...

In all fairness, there is a huge difference in the way most Westerners understand Eastern spirituality and its actual substance. First of all, almost none of the Westerners who embrace Vedanta, Buddhism, various Yogas, etc., are qualified to be students of these disciplines because they fail the moral standard required of the neophyte. So long as one is attached to worldly pursuits and pleasures, one is not ready to hear the truth. Gurus who came to the West abandoned all preliminary moral training and profited greatly from those who were sexually promiscuous, drug addicted, greedy, egocentric, etc. and thus were hardly established in the requisite virtues. It is true that most New Age types are leftists. It is equally true that most devout Hindus, Buddhists, etc. are conservative and, by Western standards, very puritanical. That one should realize the insufficiency and illusion of worldly pleasures is common to both Christianity and Eastern spirituality. It is square one. Oneness is another matter and all spirituality appears to posit a coalescence of the individual and the ideal of unity as the desideratum. "Not I, but Christ in me," "You in me and I in you" etc.

edwin faust said...

"A spiritual attitude in which everything is seen as one cannot distinguish properly between good and evil and nor can it deal with a material world which has been corrupted."

Oneness can be understood, as it is by me, as the Good - that in which there is no evil, thus, no duality as in the physical world where everything is mixed and nothing is purely good.

William Wildblood said...

Oneness in which difference remains is not the same as oneness in which difference is annihilated..

The expressed good cannot be simple oneness. It must be oneness underlying differences or there is no good because there is nothing. Pure oneness is the sme as noneness.

So I would draw a distinction between Oneness per se and the state of diversity in unity which is what I think creation was intended to bring about. After all, there can be no love in perfect oneness.

It is the integration of the one and the many that we should be aiming at not either one on its own without the other.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I find the use of simultaneous oneness and difference to be either incoherent, paradoxical, confusing, although I certainly agree with what you are getting-at. I am querying the terminology and scheme of analysis.

I have found (since I discovered it for myself) that it is more helpful to think in terms of difference and harmony (harmony instead of oneness); and harmony as something like a log term shared goal.

SO taht there are many beings, but which holds us together is that we are commited to God's creation, and regard love as primary, and other values like that. We do not need to conisder some primal or ultimate oneness; because we cohere in these 'dynamic' terms.

We are held together and our decisions and actions are made compatible (i.e. harmony) by the sharing of values.

This relates to Time. The usual way of discussing oneness and difference is time-less - which is why having more than one ultimate leads to paradox; whereas I am including Time in the analysis.

I am saying that there can always be difference (and difference will never go away; there will always be separate beings, with separate selves) because such differences are always-being-harmonised by their sharing of long-term goals and values.

William Wildblood said...

Mostly a matter of phraseology, I suspect, Bruce. My idea is that in heaven we retain our individuality but are all united in God. So we are both separate and not separate which is an annoying way of putting it but I don't think the proper vocabulary to describe this state of affairs exists yet.

edwin faust said...

What is it that makes us individuals? It must be something beyond our physical form, tastes, likes and dislikes, inclinations to this and that in the world, for the body and the world will sooner or later expire. If we are to remain forever separate from God and one another, what is the nature of this separation? For that matter, what is the nature of the qualified "oneness"? If there is not yet a vocabulary for it, how can we think about it or talk about it in an intelligible way? As far as there being a kind of eternal time in which harmony is ever increasing by the sharing of long-term goals - what are these goals, and how can time exist without physical space, or does space also persist in a kind of timeless time?

William Wildblood said...

Intellectually I don't know the answer to any of those questions but I can sense the reality of both God and individuality. I don't think we remain separate. Union overcomes separation. But we remain ourselves or rather ourselves in the higher aspect not currently known by the phenomenal self we experience as day to day reality "down here".

The spiritual world is totally different to the material. It has extra dimensions of being that we can only dimly sense in this world. I don't think we need to understand it while in this world. We just have to direct ourselves towards it and all will be revealed eventually. It's the through a glass darkly scenario. We're here to learn not to have full experiential knowledge. That will come when we have proved ourselves worthy of it. Think of the long-term goal as a sort of expansion into more, ever greater glory. But we shouldn't try to run before we can walk.

Spiritual knowledge arises in the heart. Often our questions about it are to do with the search for mental understanding which I certainly do not decry but it is not primary.

Faculty X said...

Thought provoking.

When I think about the concept of the reality of this prospect I come back to the question of the impact on this reality.

Can it be true on a spiritual level, the spiritual plane, and at the same time have almost no impact on our dimension? Perhaps the impact is misunderstood when it is really an event, like a vibration or earthquake, and the interpretation is given too much weight.