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Grappling with God

Over at I’m revising a list of terms that describe God differently.

So many people are instantly turned off by the “G” word. But unlike Stephen Colbert’s representation (ha ha), he’s not necessarily an old white man with grey beard!

Image via

The above tweet points to the first in a series of nuanced definitions that will appear over the next little while.


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Another take on the same Climate Change story (see yesterday’s post)

Continuing with my “science is not objective” argumentation on another website, the owner of that site offered some opposing opinions. It’s usually good to be challenged. It makes us reflect, focus and articulate our views in the most, we would hope, helpful way. Not to say anyone has the final word on anything. But I do think that in certain circumstances some opinions could be of more value or “closer to the truth” than others.

Regarding science, we’d do well to remember that regardless of whatever data we are dealing with, there is always an interpretation stage. People interpret data.

So here’s a slightly different take on yesterday’s story.


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“Science, Technology, and Magic” by Umberto Eco

Stuff Jeff Reads

Image Source: Wikipedia Image Source: Wikipedia

I have to admit that this essay, included in the book Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism, was not what I expected from the title. I expected an analysis on the similarities between the three, but actually it is an exploration of science is different than technology and magic, which Eco asserts are similar in nature. Honestly, I always considered magic and science to be more alike.

Eco begins his argument by pointing out that technology is not the same as science, but is merely a product of science.

Science is different. The mass media confuse with technology and transmit this confusion to their users, who think that everything scientific is technological, effectively unaware of the dimension proper to science, I mean to say that science of which technology is an application and a consequence but not the primary substance.

Technology gives you…

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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 6 – Philosophical and historical reasons

Roman Catholic by digitalexander via Flickr

Roman Catholic by digitalexander via Flickr

Philosophical Reasons

Philosophy is an ancient pursuit that has branched out in different, sometimes conflicting directions. So it’s difficult to write just a few lines about why people dislike Catholicism from a philosophical perspective.

Having said that, a broad distinction can be made between two types of philosophers:

  • those who rely solely on conceptual thinking, or believe they do
  • those who believe that reason should follow divine revelation or that reason, itself, may be inspired by God

For convenience I’ll call the first type A philosophers. These thinkers often seem entangled in a web of concepts, perhaps never learning anything beyond the range of their own abstract thought processes. They take great pains to define certain concepts – e.g. love, meaning, being, knowing, caring, commitment – and then say why their definitions and elaborations are best.

Type A philosophers may address the importance of experience, but their experience is mostly gained from the five senses. Type A individuals may or may not believe in God. Any kind of unconventional experience informing their ideas tends to fall within a limited form of the numinous (say, through drug use).

The latter group, type B, believe that thought may be informed not just by the senses but also by religious or numinous experience. Type B believe in some notion of God, a higher power or a divinity within. Their beliefs may be pantheistic or theistic. Even so, their ideas and convictions are often colored by their interpretation of a particular numinous experience (or series of experiences).¹

Concerning the dislike of Catholicism, if neither A nor B had experienced the numinous within a Catholic setting, they’d have no direct way of understanding Catholic spirituality. On the other hand, many Catholics do consciously sense the Holy Spirit upon entering a Church and through the sacraments (such as the Eucharist), so they have reason to believe in Catholic spirituality.

Catholics may not agree with all aspects of Catholic teachings at this point in history, but they do believe in the core elements. After all, the true elements of Catholicism, if they really are true, must be holy and everlasting. And any spiritually sensitive person should pick up on that, provided they meet with the opportunity.

English: Catholic church in Tehran

Catholic church in Tehran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historical Reasons

Finally, there are historical factors contributing to the dislike of Catholicism.

Sometimes when I mention words like Mass, Church or Eucharist, those disliking Catholicism instantly point out the dark aspects of Catholic history. To outline a few:

  • the Crusades and the murders, robberies and rapes committed during them, crimes that had nothing to do with any supposed holy war
  • the Inquisitions and the cruel torture and murder of so-called witches, which some say had more to do with the Church seizing property for economic gain
  • greedy, reprobate Popes
  • the silly trial, condemnation and house arrest of Galileo when he saw four moons around Jupiter with his telescope and advocated a heliocentric cosmology

Clearly the Catholic Church has made more than a few dark blunders throughout history. While it’s important to acknowledge past atrocities of any social or religious institution, it’s also important to recognize how things have changed for the better.


History deals mostly with recorded events. Another side of the coin is psychohistory. Psychohistory is an odd sounding discipline. Rest assured it has nothing to do with Norman Bates or disturbed individuals and their violent rampages. Instead, psychohistory combines psychology and history in suggesting that past generations influence contemporary individuals through a mix of genetic and socio-historical factors. In other words, psychohistory does not assume we are born into this world with a blank slate.

From the perspective of psychohistory, it’s noteworthy that many individuals come from non-Catholic families. And these families might go back for centuries. When family roots are deeply entrenched in a given tradition, it’s more difficult to adopt a new set of beliefs. Not impossible, of course. But difficult. So for psychohistorians, some individuals dislike Catholicism because they’re biased by their non-Catholic genealogy. They may see themselves as open-minded, but longstanding biases, stemming back generations, close them off from exploring Catholicism in the 21st century.

Church of Sándorháza (Sandra)

Church of Sándorháza (Sandra) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Final Word

Some self-perceived freethinkers maybe aren’t quite as hip, liberated and progressive as they seem to be. Many shut down when it comes to talking about Catholicism in a mature, adult way. They’ve got it all figured out. At least, they think so.

But to be truly open-minded, we have to consider things we don’t like. For me, converting to Catholicism was about coming full-circle and getting past my preconceived beliefs about intellectual and spiritual freedom.

I realize these articles only scratch the surface. People dislike Catholicism for many reasons. And this series only covers a handful of those reasons. I had little interest in covering many of the known objections to Catholicism. A quick web search will reveal several non-Catholic sites opposing Catholicism. Instead of regurgitating all the known objections, I wanted a fresh approach. One that came from my own personal involvement within this, at times, irritating but also magnificent spiritual tradition.

¹ For instance, some Christians in the first century believed that Jesus would return in their lifetimes. For them, the end of the world was near.

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Copyright © Michael Clark, 2014


On The Subject Of Words

Juan Batlle Planas: Tres personajes [Three Characters], 1941 Tempera on paper Gift of Arte BA USA Foundation, 2007 via Tumblr

Excerpt from the About page @

SUBLIMINAL: SUBCONSCIOUS: Emotions, memories & thought not normally admitted to conscious awareness. Thought activity not rising to the threshold of consciousness thought.

This definition from the dictionary, would indicate that before a thought comes into conscious view, it must take other hidden paths in the mind. Psychology has named one of those paths the sub-conscious; a subliminal area of the mind not consciously available to the owner of the thought. Yet the content of that hidden area of thought, is constantly influencing the composition/action of the conscious thought. This would indicate that while we have free-will operating in the conscious thought process, we do not have free-will operating in the sub-conscious arena of the thought process. We are only free to think at the end of the thought process, not its beginning.

It could also be said, that the information (stimuli) going into the mind through the five senses of perception…namely sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling, enters the content of the unconscious and sub-conscious mind before the conscious component of the mind. This means that the sub-conscious component of the mind, is processing outside stimuli before we are conscious of its information. We sometimes…in fact often, react to outside and inside stimuli/events before we become consciously aware of it. That unconscious reaction is being processed automatically from the arena and content of the unconscious & sub-conscious mind. In a sense, we have two minds operating with the process of a thought.

Clarification: Retained childhood life experience, is constantly influencing the conscious thought process of the adult from the depository (content) of the sub-conscious mind…unknowingly. If the experience of childhood is one of nurturing and happiness, then the hidden/repressed content of the sub-conscious seldom troubles the conscious mind in adulthood. But when that childhood is full of conflict, chaos, misery, immature parenting and unhappiness, then big insoluble problems come to the conscious mind of adulthood via the conflict ridden sub-conscious. As in personality problems, social problems, psychological problems, pathological problems, maturity problems, relationship problems etc. The reality of which, becomes the permanent reality of the immature adult…and eventually society on the receiving end.

The point to be made: A practical solution to this nemesis of a conflict ridden sub-conscious mind, would be a great boon to the happiness of not only those afflicted, but also to society on the receiving end of its sociopath nemesis. According to the author’s research, just such a solution (knowledge) was found thousands of years ago. To eventually die with the civilization its knowledge came out of, when they ceased to put into practice its knowledge in their society. That solution in the author‘s language, is called Correct Meditation. A short twice daily practiced technique, available to anyone that can think with a thought and persevere innocently with its practice. The only limitation, is the limitation to not want to understand and put into practice its knowledge.

To sum up: So what exactly is the sub-conscious. In expanded definition, it is the hidden but active mind depository of all our childhood retained experience…good and bad experience. We could say the sub-conscious mind, consists of layer upon layer of life-experience embedded in the matter of the mind. Experience that becomes hidden and often repressed from conscious view in adulthood. Attached to that experience locked into the subliminal layers of the mind, is the specific structure, quality & layer of consciousness that prevailed at that time in childhood. This would indicate that physical consciousness grows…as does the awareness, with the gradual physical growth of the child and therefore linked to the biology factor of life.


On The Subject Of God – Part 1

Image via Tumblr

“On The Subject Of God” was submitted to by the author. It originally appears in the About section at Alfsbootcampblog.

About words that are not mainstream in society and may mean different things to different people. To help clear this anomaly up and prevent misunderstanding, listed below are these words, their meaning & definition as applied by the author.

ABSOLUTE. Nothing is greater than absolute. It is eternity. It is forever. Religion has named that absolute, God. In spiritual understanding, the invisible source of Creation can be said to be absolute, eternal and never-changing. Out of that Absolute has manifested relative creation (this universe) and everything evolving in it. That non-physical Absolute, is the invisible source & substance of this physical dissolvable universe. Out of that understanding, everything in creation has the potential of that eternal absolute intelligence underwriting its existence.

Clarification: In simple sense, everything comes from something, because nothing comes from nothing. To argue otherwise, is a waste of human intelligence in boot camp. So this Universe and everything in it, must have come from something. That something is called Abstract Absolute Intelligence or God. Everything that exists is the substance of that eternal Intelligence…including the human being with its dissolvable intelligence. That hard to accept statement for some, is their Achilles heel where understanding a new reality is concerned. Because we have to want to understand its reality for it to become a reality.

ABSTRACT: Beyond our physical senses of perception. e.g. sight, taste, hearing, smelling, touch. The word God falls into this category, because the abstract Intelligence of God is beyond the senses and beyond our conscious thought. It is only the creativity of God and what manifests out of that transcendent Intelligence…namely physical Creation and all that is in it, that is available to our physical senses and conscious thought. In that understanding, God does not talk, because it has no physical attributes in its silent abstract domain. Only human beings and other manifested creations out of the Absolute Intelligence of God, talk.

ARCHETYPAL INTELLIGENCE: Archetypal intelligence is spiritual intelligence, it is unseen intelligence, it is the invisible intelligence that underwrites and permeates every biological component of life, every function of the brain. Archetypal intelligence is the source of our universal emotions, personalities, gifts and talents. Archetypal spiritual intelligence is that which life and its biology & chemistry has manifested out of. It the function of the Laws of Nature, to create, maintain & process ‘order out of chaos’ in that archetypal intelligence…and therefore life. Archetypal intelligence can also be called the primordial intelligence of Nature and the invisible constituent of life, its biology, its chemistry, its reproduction (sexuality) and instincts.

ALMIGHTY NATURE: THE COSMIC MIND:  That forms the status quo spiritual intelligence of this universe and everything evolving in it. It is the active spiritual aggregate of Absolute Intelligence, functioning as the invisible source & brain of evolution. It is the cosmic computer processing evolution through the Laws of Nature from the subtlest level of Creation. The human brain and its myriad functions, are but a physical biological created replica of that Cosmic Mind manifesting in life and therefore linked to life…evolving life.

COSMIC: All-encompassing. Permeating in everything. The invisible Laws of Nature that permeate everything in Creation, are Cosmic in their function and value. They are a manifested creation of Absolute Intelligence or God…as is everything in Creation. They invisibly carry out the cosmic process & purpose of evolution…both physical evolution and spiritual evolution. Laws that can be said to be the personal intelligence of impersonal God active in creation.

COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS: Every level of evolution has its specific quality of consciousness & intelligence. Human life at this point of its evolution, only functions out of biological created consciousness that is dissolvable, it dissolves at death. Underwriting that biological created consciousness and its I.Q. potential, is spiritual consciousness and its I.Q. potential. Underwriting spiritual consciousness, is absolute consciousness and its I.Q. potential. The last two levels of consciousness are latent & undeveloped in the human being. The Laws of Nature operate differently in every level (dimension) of consciousness, its Laws change to suite that different level of evolution.

Clarification: Comic Consciousness (or spiritual consciousness) is the next possible stage in the evolution of the human species. All levels & the different qualities of consciousness in them, have many stages of development in the process of their evolution in the human being. Quality of consciousness, is also a variable in mankind and has no relationship to our variable I.Q. potential and its measurement. That means low I.Q. is no bar to the spiritual development of the individual. Spiritual and absolute consciousness is open to all on the path of evolution…unlike our I.Q. segregated education system.

CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE: In spiritual understanding and its reality, the whole of Creation and all that is in it is composed of, is created out of, is interwoven and underwritten by Creative Intelligence. Everything that exists has manifested out of creative-intelligence appearing as different forms & phenomena. So creative-intelligence, is another name for the manifested expression of un-manifest Absolute Intelligence that sources life & creation. At the highest level of creation and evolution, it is the intrinsic nature of God to perpetually manifest, create & diversify…as it is of human beings.

DIVINE: The active creative-intelligence of impersonal uninvolved God can be said to be Divine. The spiritual function of the Laws of Nature are in this category, for they possess pure-creativity directly linked to the Absolute Intelligence of God. They are the active manifested expression of that uninvolved God permeating in everything physical & spiritual. As such, they possess the status of Divine Cosmic Intelligence that sources life.

EVOLUTION: To grow, to continuously change, to adapt & develop, to become more complex. The reality of  physical biological evolution is known & accepted by most in Science & Education. The reality of Spiritual evolution remains unknown to Science & Education and therefore like invisible intangible God, to be denied & dismissed as a reality because of it. A illogical dismissal that is a loss not a gain in the evolution of knowledge, science & education. Denial of the possibility of intelligence greater that our human intelligence, is the biggest stumbling block to human evolution. It is a denial sourced to the immature human ego of a human being, not its intelligence.

TRANSCENDENT: Lying above and beyond any known physical attribute. Beyond thought, beyond life, beyond the Universe. Such is the transcendent Intelligence of God. That is where religion has gone wrong in its understanding of God, because that  uninvolved abstract intelligence has no attribute other than silence. When the thought of the thinker travels back to its internal source, then the individual mind of the thinker has the automatic potential to transcend the thought process. The mind leaves thought behind in physical creation, to arrive at the transcendent source of thought. Namely, Absolute Abstract Intelligence. That automatic outcome is the process, meaning & goal of Correct Meditation.

THE PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL LAWS OF NATURE: Science has uncovered and uses the physical attributes of the Laws of Nature. The laws of physics, fluids, mathematics, chemistry, aerodynamics etc, are the physical manifestation of the Laws of Nature. But, Science has no knowledge or experience of the spiritual Laws of Nature that underwrite & interact with the physical Laws of Nature to process evolution. Science has no comprehension of the spiritual intelligence that has created & underwrites the physical biology of life. Science & Education only have extensive knowledge of the physical processes of life, not of the spiritual processes that underwrite life, evolution & Nature.

Clarification: In boot camp reality & therefore spiritual reality, it is wrong to blindly experiment on the biology of life, without understanding or comprehending  the interactive intelligence that underwrites its source. Because at this point in time, the toxic to Nature synthetic products pouring out of the science laboratory & technology, are synthetically polluting the means for life. Polluting this planet and the spiritual function of the Laws of Nature to process the evolution of life. Science must learn to acquire, understand, create and work within that reality and its knowledge, if life is to survive on this living planet.

To be continued…


Into the Future

This is a wonderful segment about time travel from Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe DVD, which I watched last night. Hawking seems to believe that time travel is possible, but only into the future.

However, I’m wondering if a subtler type of time travel could be possible. Not time travel involving the body but rather, the soul and, by implication, consciousness.

Many religious believers report the experience of feeling heavenly graces. And this feeling differs from say, a runner’s endorphin rush or the physiological responses related to falling in love or eating chocolate (apparently they’re similar).

If the soul/consciousness can feel graces from heaven, then might not it sense other souls in other places and times? I think it quite possible that the soul could sense blissful souls in heaven, tormented souls in hell, along with souls living in the past and in the future. After all, the soul resides in the body but it also differs from the body. And when we die, the soul goes on and on and on. At least, this is what most religions teach.

I loved Hawking’s video and inspiring example but he always seems to fall a bit short when discussing – or should I say ignoring – the spiritual side of life. I imagine it’s because he’s a brainy physicist, hardwired and habituated into thinking long and hard about problems in a primarily conceptual way. He’s no mystic. At least, I don’t think so. If he is, he sure doesn’t seem like one!

You can read more about Hawking’s views here: