A Rationalist's Argument for God
OVERVIEW: In the following text, an objective, analytical argument is made of God's own origin as a personal first cause that would be consistently all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful.
ALL-KNOWING: Such a cause would be the unity of opposition, since it would have no boundaries itself. It would also consist of knowledge not only of our world, and of our actions (past, present or future), but of all possible worlds (timeless). The totality is its all-encompassing breadth of wisdom.
ALL-GOOD: It would be "goodness" itself -- irreducibly simple. The non-reducibility of the concept would be its totality.
ALL-POWERFUL: The concept of power consists of the extremes: exertion and restraint. The consistency of balance between both extremes would be the totality. By the power of restraint, God would be strong enough to overcome even its own will, allowing us to be responsible for our own thoughts and actions. Such would provide a challenging world in which free will could thrive.
Any claim for a God-like entity must account for certain characteristics. For instance, "God" must be absolute (i.e., [that is to say], non-relative), as well as first-cause. Additionally, "God," by definition, would possess the attributes: all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful. These are the three most important criteria for any truth-seeker. In this text, we'll equate these characteristics to something known: the "mind." We'll argue that, stripped of its vantage point in individuals, such "pure mind" would be God itself.
This will be done by our individually examining each attribute for absoluteness.
- Energy, by definition, cannot exist without space-time: it's "a capacity to do work."
- The Big Bang "created" space-time as we know it.
- There is no space-time beyond the universe(s) -- thus, no energy in the manner of how it's commonly defined.
- If the effect is space-time itself, then the cause of it must be transcendent of space-time (i.e., beyond measure or observation).
- Overall, such a "cause" would subsist (not necessarily "exist") in the same manner that functions do of things (i.e., as a foundation for existence). Its causality would be in the purpose of things, just as our own formless ideas (e.g., our purpose for doing things) lead to physical actions.
- Such a cause would also be eternal (i.e., distinguishable from "infinite" by its being beyond "time")
- Such a cause would not itself need a cause. It would be a meditative state of being -- an eternal state in which timely events (e.g., space-time itself) originate from.
- Such a boundless state can be either "nothing" or "Oneness" itself.* But since "nothing" cannot create, it must be "One."
[*Any "oneness" wouldn't be quantifiable until it's linked with other numbers].
- As for its being transcendent, either it's something abstract or mind itself. Since "abstracts" cannot act, it must be "mind."
- Since there cannot be more than one mind beyond space-time (as that would be measurable and quantifiable), then this mind must be absolute: without comparison.
- There can only be one non-relative absolute in this regard: certainty.
- "Certainty" is itself a state of mind -- the most fulfilling thought. Thought implies consciousness.
- Consciousness is the most complex thing to exist -- even moreso than the inorganic universe. Accordingly, any discussion of first cause must account for consciousness, as well.
- Since it's more logical for a lesser to depend on a greater, than a greater to depend on a lesser, it's logical that such consciousness was created from an absolute, rather than having emerged or evolved, piecemeal, from within. Otherwise "brains", paradoxically, would have orignated from lifeless matter unthinkingly to become thinking things that think themselves.
- However, it's just as likely that our brains channel in consciousness than it creates it.* Its source would be "pure mind" -- a meditative mind without distraction.
[*For instance, anything examinable on a brainscan could just as much apply to a channelling mind as it could to a mind that originates thought.]
- Even though pure mind is our cause, we cannot observe it directly, or conceive of it entirely, yet it's knowable. It's knowable because we can rationalize its framework, objectively -- albeit indirectly -- by collective insight of our own non-observable first-hand nature of mind.
- "Pure mind" would simply be an extrapolation of the phenomenon we experience daily of thinking in general, albeit after the following considerations:
... that it's not directly observable. Individual minds perceiving an absolute wouldn't know if the knowable parts are its most important components, its least, or neither.
... also, "pure mind" would have no opposite, and we can only fully perceive of that which has a known opposite: i.e., every perceivable concept has an equally perceivable contrary.*
[*For instance, we wouldn't know of daylight if that's all we've ever experienced throughout our lives, and night never occured. It would be clear as day, yet we wouldn't know it. There would be nothing to compare it with.]
... likewise, our practical framework of thought wouldn't be the same as that of a pure mind. For instance, with pure mind, the unity of opposition would be prioritized over the Law of Non-contradiction.
[*Logic's "law of non-contradiction" refers to time: "a thing cannot both be and not-be at the same time and in the same respect," whereas the unity of opposition is timeless].
- Overall, "pure mind" would simply be the unified, equitable sense of all such opposition.
- Being the unity of opposition, "pure mind" is simply one complete thought. Yet even a complete thought may result in an epiphany. The epiphany that would have created a physical universe would be the thought of change itself. This thought resulted in infinite change (change = constancy),* and all that this entails: relativity, measure, will, etc.
[*As the saying goes: "There's only one thing that doesn't change, and that's change itself."]
- If this weren't the case and "pure mind" didn't create our consciousness, then any known accurate interpretation of reality on our end would be impossible. Truth would only be determined by whatever is practical at any given time (i.e., pragmatism).
- Since such an absolute creator would be without distraction, and must have had clear intent, it follows that our creation -- along with all other creation -- has a purpose.
- Since our consciousness is the most complex out of all other known living organisms, our existence would be the end result of such purposefulness.
- There's one standard for every known consciousness: we're dependent, reciprocal creatures, capable of possible suffering.*
[*... or joy, for that matter].
- Some would describe this characteristic as a fault of any creator of ours. But if we didn't have challenges, free will would be meaningless, and morally irrelevant. Morality determines character.
- Even if "free will" doesn't exist (as some claim), for one to doubt it, one would still imply it. For one thing, consciousness in a relative world lends itself to it since relativity implies choices. Determinism (i.e., the idea that our decisions are based entirely on our biological nature), on the other hand, implies an absolute lack of choice.
- The knowledge of "pure mind" wouldn't be dependent on time. "Pure mind" would neither have foreknowledge, nor postknowledge, but simply have "knowledge" of all possible worlds. Free will would be consistent with absolute knowledge as such time wouldn't be linear, but may be infinite to every possiblity -- only one of which would be realized in our space-time by our choices.
- The moral rules used to judge free will vary among cultures. But the idea of "justice," which supports such stances, does not -- otherwise, we couldn't even debate morality among differing viewpoints, since we wouldn't be able to communicate its basis.
- "Justice" is a simple measure (e.g., that all wrongs deserve to be righted) in that we must already know its basis of meaning in order to judge whether or not a moral code is accurate to follow. It entails the even simpler concept of "goodness."
- For instance, "happiness" is said to have intrinsic value. Our purpose for doing anything seems to imply it as our goal. But "happiness" isn't identical with "good," nor is "pain" necessarily identical with "bad." "Happiness/pleasure" and "pain," being values, have characteristics. They're relations that must be referred to with something else.
- But, unlike these relations, "good" is simple, irreducibly. "Good" = good.* It would be accurate to say that it subsists in the same sense that "pure mind" was described earlier.
[*The most straightforward account of the simplicity of "goodness" was offered by Bertrand Russell in his _Elements Of Ethics:_ ""Whenever a proposed definition sets us thinking whether it is true in fact, and not whether that is how the word is used, [then] there is reason to suspect that we are not dealing with a definition, but with a significant proposition, in which the word professedly defined has a meaning already known to us...." So, as with "justice," for anyone to judge whether a description of "goodness" is correct, we must already know the meaning of "good," intuitively, in order to decide upon its accuracy.]
- Essentially, morality involves feelings. Morality is only relevant to those creatures capable of suffering, or understanding of it. So it's something all rational, dependent creatures can identify with. The question reciprocally asked of morality is: "How would you like it if someone did that to you?" Given the fact that we're born with the same inborn dependencies, "you" may just as well imply "anyone" and "everyone."
- In regards to "feeling," it's significant that "absence of pain and suffering" is good moreso than "absence of pleasure" = bad.* It follows, then, that the natural tendency to avoid pain is an even greater inclination than the abstract goal of happiness.
[*For instance, a voluntary detox program may not be pleasurable, but may still be an overall "good."]
- We may conclude from this that "injustice" is dependent on the possibility of suffering, unnecessarily. Due to our limited perspectives, then, humans, either singly or collectively, should avoid carrying out decisions that would entail suffering to another. This is because we may likewise suffer too, and we would have no foolproof measure that any suffering involved is warranted.
- In fact, whenever evil is done in any so-called perceivably justifable manner, the action is typically rationalized by the perpetrator as it being a "lesser of two evils." However, such evils can never rightfully be done in the name of God, as war-mongers and terrorists have attempted, in the past, to justify their wrong-doing. Recall that God is "all-good," and that and "a lesser of two evils" are two incompatible concepts. One can never be applicable to the other.
- The rule here to be mindful of is as follows: If an action would otherwise be dispicable without making reference to God, it should not then be carried out in the name of God.
- In general, God should never be used as an excuse for hate or suffering.
- So, overall: in regards to experience, it's really "justice," not "good" itself, that draws our attention to what is "good."
- Even so, neither social contracts nor religious canons are as absolute as they're made out to be. For one thing, the possibility exists for unjust laws. Likewise, any interpretation of a specified "God" alone wouldn't determine what's necessarily right and wrong. For example, what if such a God commanded us to wear no woolen hats? Would it be evil not to follow this command -- or merely inadvisable?*
[*This passage was influenced by Thomas Nagel's "What Does It Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy," 1987].
- Additionally, some of the New York City firefighters on 9-11-01 may have done their heroic deeds out of a sense of religious conviction, but so arguably had the terrorists. Since "justice" entails "goodness," the fundamental concept of "good" must still be referenced in order to determine whom of these actually fulfilled a heroic role that day, if any. With that gauge, most would agree that the former have earned themselves the title of "heroes," while the terrorists would rightfully be deemed as "evil," due to their being the cause of inarguable suffering.
- In general, the goodness of "pure mind" would just be synonymous with "goodness" itself.
- Due to free will, and with morals being only relevant to living, feeling creatures, "mind" is only as good, and as relative, as we are, collectively.
- Accordingly, our common function, in being granted free will, should be to achieve, through "justice," the simplicity of "goodness."
- As we've seen with Part One, the big bang was the result of "pure mind's" epiphany of change. The universe is bound together by the weakest force. It only stands to reason that gravity advanced from a state less significant, likely not physical at all.
- But how could something metaphysical create physical things? Once again: the unity of opposition explains it. As we see with gravity, the weakest force is likewise the greatest. Essentially, the force consistent with an absolute will allowing free will is "retraint" (the unity of force-counterforce). As such, "pure mind" is strong enough to overcome (and refrain from) its inherent strength (e.g., being merciful in regards to a transitory injustice).
- This stability to balance out the constant change, offered by free will, requires the force of moderation: Equilibrium. It's not a state of feeling, but a state of being.
- Such a life-force is understood in the East as "Chi," which we may all sense, meditatively. The belief is to use up as little Chi as possible, rather than squander it.
- Sages act accordingly. The sage doesn't affirm, nor does she distinguish, but acts non-intentionally. She does what's right at the right time insomuch that the "doing" is negligible. Rather than "be natural," sages naturally non-do. Otherwise, contraries are involved, and contraries involve extremes. Such ability becomes not only a lifestyle, but a state of intelligence.
- All of this answers the paradox: Could God create a rock He couldn't move? Positive moderation (restraint) prevents overwhelming creation/destruction.
- Likewise, the best manner for a person to assure such a goal as Heaven on Earth is by subsisting oneself: avoiding extremes through moderation and balance.
- With goodness being our innate sense, and as our goal is to attain balance, the nature of "pure mind" would live through us.
- "Pure mind," on its own and in itself, wouldn't have self-awareness. Rather, it is ourselves whom are self-aware.
- By looking within, we can experience a pure mind's interaction with us through unity: Transcendence = Immanence (i.e., External = Internal).
- It's important for us to share in this inner nature. By doing so, we would escape our enslavement to self, and recognize the spiritual bond of a universal perspective in all of us.
DOES IT HOLD WATER?
- The opposition of "life-death" need not entail one positive, one negative. Due to the unity of opposition, "death" is more likely a transformation than an end-in-itself. But, in order for us to be in the proper frame of mind prior to transcending this life, every individual needs to willfully learn to think beyond their own self-interests and worries.
- Due to our being given free will, "pure mind"'s sense of justice would allow the Enlightened to abide in the highest ideals (i.e., moderation and balance), whereas the Unenlightened would live according to life's most petty aspects: fear, envy, desires, etc. Beyond this life, if those unenlightened -- who live only by the senses and self -- would consciously live on, then they would do so without the senses or self. Such an eternal perspective would result in eternal unfulfillment, with no hope (i.e., "hell").
- The unenlightened people, then, who "go to Hell," would have freely sent themselves to such a state, spiritually, by their having been too unaccepting to live according to Agapé.
- "Agapé" is a positive emotion that would be implied by the equinimity and absolute selflessness associated with a "pure mind." It's an accepting, non-subjective type of loving that anyone would welcome, regardless of whom does the loving.
- With Agapé as the goal, all spiritual paths would be essentially the same. As Eastern mysticism refer to this phenomenon: PATH = DESTINATION: The journey is the goal itself. Such a goal wouldn't be a desire because the attainment would be accessible simply after one's first earnest effort (or lack thereof) to attain it.
- Overall, we evolved in order for us to realize free will and create our own meaning. Otherwise, we would all have been equal to a pure mind: a redundancy. If the world was perfect, then nothing would exist. Rather all would subsist.
- As it is, we may all become sages -- but as an end, not as a given. We're all born with "pure mind"'s power of reason in order to overcome evil, if such is what we will.
- As things now stand, though, our technological know-how has far exceeded our moral grasp.
- Balance is therefore required from humanity's collective free will.
- If our solutions only seem to bring on additional problems, it's only due to some imbalance of our collective reasoning.
- As a whole, humanity needs to advance its moral understanding. Hopefully, this text will somewhat assist the reader in establishing how such knowledge may be achieved. It would be in accordance with the understanding of all-knowing, all-good, and all-powerful being consistent.
Thank you for reading.
Please enjoy my arguments also found on my alternate webpage: godtrustory.webs.com and my YouTube channel page: Rational Belief in God.