Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I am Alpha and Omega

Freyashawk to God: I know the answer to this question, but some of my readers are pestering me to ask you: What is your name?

God: Well, names are Words of Power. Many of the ancient religions believed that one could capture the soul of some one or something by naming it. In fact, the 'Bible', which is no more nor less the 'Word of God' than any religious tome or any poem written by human beings, speaks of Creation of your World essentially as a process of naming things. Evidently, I (and I use the pronoun advisedly) gave Adam and Eve the power to name all of the 'subsidiary creatures' on this planet, although I never would do any such thing! To me, all creatures are equal. This planet was devised as a democracy, although as always, some of its creatures almost immediately got out of hand to destroy the balance of nature.

Freyashawk tries to bring God back to the original subject: But the name?

God mutters: A rose by any name would smell as sweet. God appears to be fond of this quote, although Freyashawk never considered the 'Immortal Bard' to be head and shoulders above all other great writers.

God: Well, the spiritual cognoscenti always declared that the secret or true name of God had to reside in the vowels without any consonents to clutter up the word.

Freyashawk: I am aware of the tradition which is why I once wrote that Godlings or little demigods have names that are conceived from the unnecessary or bogus consonants like J and Y and Z.

God chuckles appreciately. I suspect that God is humouring me, rather like a parent who wishes to encourage a child to excel, even though the child is still at the stage of creating stick figures.

God: Yes, the Bacchantes ran through the forests crying: Euoi! Euoi!

Freyashawk: Robert Graves wrote an entire book about it.

God: He did, didn't he? Strange chap. He believed he obtained a glimpse of me only when suffering from the effects of snake venom...

Freyashawk: Well, was he wrong?

God (laughing again): Of course not! Reality is an onion.

Freyashawk, startled: That's one of mine!

God, quoting a very young Freyashawk: Reality is an onion of many layers that reduces one to tears whenever one attempts to find the core.

Freyashawk: I always felt that 'one' was superior to 'you'. Sort of the U version of individuality as opposed to the non-U general 'you'.

God: And single quotes as opposed to double quotes...

Freyashawk: My first manuscript rejection, by DAW. I'll never forget it: 'using single quotes, the affection of a few pretentious British publishing houses.' This is all off-topic, however,although I would venture to add that both 'I' and 'You' are pronouns that contain no consonants, at least in the English tongue.

God: English being a sacred language...

Freyashawk: Like Arabic, Greek and Sanskrit.

God: Quite.

Freyashawk: Let me give here an example from the Qur'an. I'm afraid my memory is not what it was, but I do recall that Surah An Nahl speaks of creation and especially of the creatures of this earth such as cattle as things that were made to be of service to mankind. Certainly the Christian Bible does the same. Is this in fact the case? Are we the 'Lords of the Earth'?

God: Words that were ascribed to me to give power and false legitimacy to the writers... How could God be just if God elevated one species over all others? If anything, the powers given to humanity make humanity the guardians of the Earth, and not its Lords.

Freyashawk: That makes sense and yet we have too often failed in our guardianship, a failure that threatens to destroy the entire planet.

God: And yet some claim that to be a punishment by God...

Freyashawk: You do not punish, do you?

God: All I do is allow the laws of cause and effect to exist. It is a method of teaching, nothing more.

Freyashawk: Is there any hope for us?

God shrugs (metaphysically, as God has no substance and yet is all substance)

Freyashawk to herself: Why do I ask such a thing? We are such creatures of habit. Why should there be any 'hope' or 'lack of hope' for humanity if we are no more, no less significant than any other collection of atoms?

God (who hears all, naturally): Precisely. You can answer your own questions and write your own holy books and your own books of laws, which in fact, humanity has done from time immemorial.

Freyashawk: And what of Inspiration?

God: The mead of Odroerir?

Freyashawk: If you like. I always favoured that myth above others.

God: All myths that portray humans or godlings as thieves of power are more accurate than those portraying any of my creatures as somewhat endowed with godhood or some god-given right to become superior to others.

Freyashawk: Yet Inspiration is the closest we come to experiencing YOU.

God: Inspiration in the form of Ecstacy? In the form of Vision? In the form of Intoxication?

Freyashawk; In any form that dissolves the ego temporarily and allows us to penetrate at least one veil.

God: In any form that humbles you, in other words?

Freyashawk: Stripping away one layer of the onion... To return to the subject of the 'Names of God'...

God: Yes?

Freyashawk: In Islam, which translates as 'Submission' by the way, there are the 99 'Asmi Husna' or 'Beautiful Names' of God...

God: I approve of religion as poetry.

Freyashawk: Those names, then, are simply guideposts for HUMAN conduct really, aren't they? The attributes we should ponder...

God: Quite.

Freyashawk: Humans feel a need to name you, because they feel that they cannot CALL upon you unless they can fix your attention upon them. Rather like, 'Hey, God, pay attention!'

God: I certainly do not require that, being omnipotent, omniscient, all-seeing and all-knowing.

Freyashawk: Again from the Qur'an: Wa idha saalaka ibadi anni fa inna qariban ujeebu daawatan ul daai idha daani falyastajeebuli wa yuminuni la allahum yarshudun.

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me; let them also with a will listen to My call and believe in Me; that they may walk in the right way. (Surah Al Baqara, Verse 186.)

God: You are fond of quoting from the Qur'an and I know why.

Freyashawk: Of course YOU do. I want human beings to understand that Islam and Christianity spring from the same source, the same wellspring of myth. Incidentally, I, like Joseph Campbell define 'myth' as the ultimate truth, not as a falsehood.

God: 'Follow your Bliss'.

Freyashawk: Returning to the topic of Names, there was a poor chap who began to believe that God appeared to him and spoke to him as a DOG. It led him to a spate of killings.

God: DOG being GOD spelled backwards... Not the first 'holy war' by any means...

Freyashawk: And as unjustified as any so-called 'holy war'.

God: Indeed.

Freyashawk: That should be a lesson to us all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

God's Punishment

Freyashawk: This is the response of God to my question about so-called 'Divine Punishment':

Human beings tend to confuse 'Cause and Effect' with 'Punishment'. There are laws of Cause and Effect that I set in motion. This is not Punishment. This is simply the laws of Motion and Natural Change.

Balance has been mistaken for Punishment as well. Creation and Destruction are simply two sides of the same coin and a balance between the two must be maintained if the Universe is to operate.

There is a natural span for things and there are natural reasons why creatures die or cease to function and are born or brought into creation.

Let me use an example from humanity to show how the end of something does not constitute Punishment. A man trims his nails so that he is better able to use his hands. When a fingernail is trimmed or cut, you would not declare that the man has punished the nail by cutting it away from the body or by sanding it down. He simply is performing a natural act to keep all things in balance.

Humanity's sorrow where Death is concerned is primarily egocentric in nature. It results from a misunderstanding of the nature of the Universe I created. The death of one is not the death of all. Those who perceive that a death is simply a method by which a specific creature is reincorporated into the whole understand the Universe best.

Death is the cessation of a specific creature or organism but in most cases, there are residual elements that continue. In the case of any human being, there are physical remnants and incorporeal remnants. A man or woman who is remembered lives on after the death of his/her body. Indeed, if the story of the person is told by some one else, one could perceive that the man or woman has continued to grow and change for the perception of another mind has given the individual new vitality.

Even in the case of a person's creations, the input of others can cause the story or work to continue, mutate and grow. 'Lord of the Rings' by Tolkien is a case in point. I mention this because it is one of your favourites, Freyashawk. It was Tolkien's creation initially but he would be the first to give credit to all the myths and tales that he wove into the tale.

Tolkien died. The books were completed and read by others and yet, when Peter Jackson made films from the books, they were reborn. His vision changed them and caused them to grow beyond the boundaries of the original book covers. In similar fashion, the human beings and creatures I have created are not limited to their original substance but can continue to exist beyond their own lives.

A body that is buried in the soil lends its bones and marrow to the growth of plant life and other living creatures. How can it be entirely dead when a flower grows from its bones? How can a man or woman be entirely dead when his/her DNA continues in the children or grandchildren? A person often will catch a glimpse of some one who died in the way his/her grandchild smiles or walks or even in the workings of the intellect.

Selfishness has its uses and motivates human beings and other creatures but it is not the most enlightened state of being. A creature should be willing to die to yield place to others. In some cultures of humankind, the old people would walk out into the cold in the winter to die in order that the newborn would have sufficient food. That sort of Death never could be perceived as 'God's punishment' and yet, is it any different when Nature makes room for new life by winnowing out the old?

The Value of Worship to God

My friend Fleming asked: Does God enjoy being worshipped?

It is an important question and therefore deserves a post of its own. Worship of God has incredibly positive effects for the worshipper but what does it signify to God?

Although I suspected I knew the answer to the question, I asked God. In my very human vanity, I was gratified to realise my own instincts had been correct.

God told me:

Worship is for the benefit of the worshipper and not for me. In the same way that a child sometimes shuts his/her eyes and believes that everything disappears, people often believe that I am affected by their actions. In fact, I am devoid of human vanity or ego. The fact that atheists declare I do not exist does not affect my actual existence. If I had human attributes, I might be amused by their arrogance but in fact they are like children who attempt to change reality by making declarations. That sort of thing doesn't work!

Creatures who are controlled by time need to take 'time out' from their existences and their preoccupations. Worship is a method by which they can exist temporarily in a state of peace, relinquishing their control and their anxieties in an environment that is conducive to this. By creating a focus of worship of 'God', they must surrender control and exist in a place that is 'outside time and space' for a brief interval. This is extremely positive in every way. It allows emotional, spiritual and physical recovery from stress.

Furthermore, I am found to some extent in such concepts as 'Truth' and 'Beauty'. Places of worship tend to be created according to concepts of Beauty. They do not belong to individuals but rather to the community. A person who has no wealth therefore is as entitled equally to the place of worship as the rich one. If a place of worship is the 'House of God', it welcomes all persons equally and makes no distinctions according to wealth or worldly position. This is essential in spiritual terms. Any House of Worship should be a spiritual Home to every one who chooses to rest or meditate there.

No, I have to admit that I am not excited by notions of dominance and submission. These are attributes of lesser species. In fact, it puzzles me that humans so often attribute inferior emotions and characteristics to me. I certainly would not respect any 'God' who demanded submission and actually was pleased on some emotional level by endless bowing and scraping. I am above all Kings and potentates, but I do not need to prove it by demanding prostration from my creatures.

When you eat or sleep, you submit to my laws. Why would I need any evidence in terms of obsequious behaviour? On the other hand, submission is good for the soul. When an individual submits completely, he/she surrenders control, thereby letting go of anxiety and stress temporarily. This is what worship is about. By submitting only to God, who is BEYOND all rules and regulations, beyond all petty desires and needs, a person is submitting in total safety to one who is superior to himself/herself. This is an important, dare I say, even vital aspect of human existence.

Every individual has a need to submit, although many will repress that need through insecurity. To submit to God is to submit only to peace and perfect harmony. I do not require anything of those who 'worship' me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

God's Image

Freyashawk: There is this claim that 'Man was created in God's image'. What do you say to that?

God: Well, it is absurd, of course. I am not human. I have no gender, no species, no limitations in fact. You can't squeeze God into a box and expect it to contain the entirety of what I am, because I am infinite.

Freyashawk: So you are neither male nor female.

God: Of course not. I can, however, assume any form I desire, but although I sometimes enjoyed parlour tricks of that sort, over the centuries they have lost some of their attraction.

God's Disclaimer

God told me: You know, I should have thought of this centuries ago when other humans buttonholed me to ask my opinion of things, but I suppose my mind was on larger concerns. Knowing now, however, what havoc has been wrought by people who put together books that they claim represent 'the Word of God', I am going to ask you to agree to this declaimer, to the effect that NOTHING imputed to God in the course of these conversations or dialogues shall be defined now or ever as 'the Word of God'.

For a start, my thoughts can't possibly be limited or restricted by words which are an invention of human beings. I don't think in any language and whenever I speak to any species, I am forced to restrict myself absurdly in order to be understood. It is as accurate, moreover, to describe my conversations with a cat as the 'Word of God' as any conversations with any human being.

Now that we've cleared up that little area of possible misinterpretation, we can begin properly.

I'd like you to make a declaration here, Freyashawk. Why are you embarking upon this project now?

Freyashawk: Shall I address you with any honorific or simply as God?

God: God is fine. You could put together any combination of letters, numbers or sounds and it would be fine. As English is your mother tongue and God is short and to the point, I would go with God.

Freyashawk: Indeed, let us all 'Go with God'. In fact, that is one of the topics I would like to explore later. (The topic of Good Manners) To answer your question, though, I am doing this primarily for my Mother. She doesn't have time to talk to you, but I know she is very concerned with matters philosophical and spiritual. She simply is too busy with her social circle to take time off for this stuff.

God: Ah. Well, I don't blame her, you know. Prayer is one of those human inventions and it does serve a purpose but there are other actions that can fulfill the same function.