Originally Posted by pianoperformer
What would be the motive? Such a divine being can’t be trying to experience new things, because by definition, it has to be infinite, and so there is no new experience that this being can possibly experience that is not already within itself in some way.(I use “it” to try to generalize the concept of God as much as possible).
How do you know that? While I'm not able to speak from the highest level of existence I know I can experience one thing in a multitude of ways. I wouldn't know that if I wasn't constantly exploring and if I didn't use certain things as benchmarks of my progress. If the infinite were to ask, "is there anything I don't know about myself?" I doubt it would linger on the question, it would create a mechanism by which it could experiment.
God can’t have parts or “tendrils.” Again we run into the problem of infinitude, which cannot be split into parts. God must be completely simple and without parts, or else there would be some other power that would have had to bring those parts together, for such a God could not have done it itself.
How do you figure? We don't really have a context in which we can say definitively what a god would or would not do, what it could or could not do, or how it would or would not function. We end up making a lot of assumptions. Indeed I gave into conjecture in my last paragraph-it's unavoidable when talking about something of which we cannot be certain. Applying human logic to ultimate truth clarifies nothing.
I think there are some things even the most spiritually advanced among us have to be content not to know. That doesn't mean their insight and their beliefs are irrelevant; it does mean that I think nobody has a clear view of the whole picture and that even if oneness feels like the best answer to some it may well be a distortion of something beyond human understanding. (Plus if there really are non-corporeal entities of some kind I see no reason to believe they wouldn't push their own agenda even if they have the best of intentions.)
Intuitively I can see how it would work. Indeed it sometimes feels like the line between self and other is extremely thin. What does that mean? I don't know; I get nowhere pondering the question. Right now I benefit for developing myself individually so that's where my focus is. My perspective will change as I grow. Seeing as I am mortal, I doubt the truth or falsity of this idea has any impact on the meaning of my life. Indeed life is what I make of it so once I've made something I consider worthwhile I'll sit down and do some more thinking.
It violates our individuality and intrinsic value. We have a deep, unquestionable sense that we are individuals, not just imagined components of some whole. While I do agree there is an interconnectedness, we must not overemphasize this for the individual. Even some in this thread have protested to the idea of merging back into source. Intrinsicly, we want to maintain our individuality, and we feel it is unjust to lose it. It denies the value of the individual, because each perceived person is really only a part of the Source, but the person themselves has no value independent of that whole.[/list]
Some of that's cultural. Say Buddhism was the dominant belief in the west-would individuality be as highly regarded as it is today? You have whole cultures, whole belief systems, wherein the individual is only spoken of in relation to the whole. And as for the struggle to maintain individuality, you can chalk some of that up to survival instincts as opposed to some higher function. It's like imposing greater depth upon the emotions of animals than there really is-we are animals on a certain level and many of our drives go no deeper than the "dumb" creatures we tower over. Strip that away, or at least put us in control, and would we cherish individuality the way we do now? It's apparent that some people don't. While I don't support the notion that the ego is something to put aside entirely it's impossible to see clearly while trapped within its bounds.
I choose to celebrate my individuality because, having stepped outside my programming, it's still something that I hold in high regard. I realize not everyone will feel the same way or make the same choice. I also realize that just because someone devotes themselves to the whole they're not necessarily putting their individuality aside. There are various complexities at work here I'm convinced that definitive answers are the domain of the insecure and the lazy. We don't know where this is going to end though I've a feeling the destination isn't all that different regardless of how you get there. What is the answer, God? Wait, don't tell me 'til I'm done dreaming.