Infinite reflection by BingAI
145 Godhood = eternal progression
There are podcasts that criticize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because it teaches eternal human progression through which one becomes able to create worlds. Ernstraud Philosophy posits that we begin creating while we are in the present human state, here and now. From this beginning, our expansion is infinite.
Beginning at self
Humanism is sometimes viewed as atheism, teaching the nonexistence of God. Only an empty, vapid shell can be formed on the assertion that something does not exist. I agree that omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence do not exist. If we stipulate that those terms define God, of course I teach that there is no God. On the other hand, ontology requires study of reality - it examines what does exist.
Along with Descartes, I observe that I exist, as a human being. Therefore, my philosophy begins in humanism, meaning that I initiate my investigation by examining my own human state. As the investigation deepens, I discover that I contain the seed of infinite capacity, which I define as godhood without contradicting the above paragraph.
Plato's Form of the Good teaches me that my intelligence does not depend on its physical manifestation. A concept exists independent of a material object. Eternal essence, my defining characteristic, transcends my mortality.
Studying my identity is not egotism, it is rather the logical starting point of my investigation. The important exercise for you, the reader, is to acknowledge that the growth principle applies directly to you. Rejecting your own infinite potential is the most common and most destructive self-limiting belief.
Growth is change
My writings evidence that I am constructed Mormon (the historical term) through and through: character, engrams, mannerisms, thought and behavior patterns, reasoning, identity, temperament, emotions, social connection. Mormonism could not melt my inborn German aggressive attention to duty, and nothing ahead can eliminate my immovable Mormon expectation of eternal progression. No brainwashing, declaration, compulsion, or conviction can wipe out that internalized structure. Nevertheless, I can change my conviction according to reason and discernment. My dynamic nature accommodates whatever belief system I generate; increased awareness evolves from the environment of my Mormon identity. As the former "operational truths" recede, my human relationships remain strong. This is my family, after all, and it includes believers and atheists of all stripes. No sudden epiphany can eradicate eight decades of fellowship and programmed indoctrination, but I can develop my foundation to support growth and unlimited further evolution. The nuanced result becomes its own new identity, admitting me into constantly expanding, refreshing reality which includes humanist-oriented eternal joy.
Does the above describe change in the person? Are we asking about identity, outcome, or environment? Substance, time, and place all matter, especially in questions of faith transition. Does change reset one or more of the factors? Constancy can be dynamic in response to experience. "Does it exist?" is a stepping stone on the way to "does it work?"
Perhaps personal security means being an unchangeable identity. That does not interfere with change in outcome. Even faithfully consistent people experience three variable dynamics:
In the above three cases, as I use the term, the identity or subject remains unchanged while the outcomes differ.
- DIRECTION: Paul, after conversion, remained the same energetic, dedicated, high-energy follower of his convictions. His characteristic behavior changed its direction.
- ADDITION: The parable of the talents instructs us not to finish exactly as we were at the beginning. The purpose of mortality is growth; by learning, we add capacity.
- PERSPECTIVE: I dislike the Bible as I was taught, using it as weapon. I appreciate the Bible the way I teach it as literature. That which is lifegiving insight to one person is a stumbling block to another. Perspective can grow.
From simple to aggregate reality
Ernstraud Philosophy employs its own description of eternal progression: Godhood is a future state of those who are now human beings. My reality begins with an awareness of self that I understand in terms of humanism as outlined above. Here I project that awareness forward to a more expanded reality.
The path to godhood is not a simplistic system of check boxes that leads to forgiveness of sins. One does not become god by being forgiven of sin. Humans require education, not fixing. The upward path is a growth process of mastering fundamental skills. Forgiveness, if that is necessary, means refining the hypothesis until you arrive at one that succeeds. That is the scientific basis of creative power.
Humans also require community, the basis of collaboration in using creative power. We already create our own worlds here and now in a framework of three degrees of glory: (a) make things happen, (b) watch things happen, (c) wonder what happened. (Compare D&C 76 three heavens and article 104 monkey, dog, chicken.) Prisoners of ignorance are currently unable to participate in the creative processes of the enlightened. The task of civilization is to link the silo worlds into a functioning social order. Rising above selfishness, we become aware of others and eventually learn to put others ahead of self (page 3). Altruism blesses society. However, we must also rise above that. To that end, Ernstraud Philosophy melds self with other. We do not emphasize distinction from others; we function as equal parts of a larger whole. Indeed, humans are already elements within a multiprocessing environment. "Mind of God" refers, in real time, to the aggregate discernment (multiprocessing) of the human minds (distributed processors) grappling with an issue. That is the reason scriptures refer to godhood in the plural. ("Elohim" is plural. See Abraham 5 "the Gods.") When "I" create a world not already included in this one, the "I" will presumably refer to a research laboratory. We progress in collaboration.
Indeed, I have gone above and beyond published scriptures such as the Bible. From this elevated vantage point, they all appear flawed and unhelpful, as in proposing rewards-based morality and a jealous God of wrath. Taken authoritatively instead of mythologically, scriptures are a stumbling block. Some readers do find uplifting, constructive applications of the contained lessons. What tiger eats becomes tiger. What snake eats becomes snake. The difference is in the consumer, not the food. Unexamined doctrinal assertions no longer nourish me.
Realizing godhood requires implementing specific principles (physical and metaphysical laws) and does not include the capacity to create or alter those laws. Describing future godhood (exaltation), Gospel Topics Essays downplays the phrase "receiving their own planets," which is myopic nonsense. Exaltation is better described in the article as organizing new worlds. The latter goal requires action and is never accomplished ex nihilo. [I even look for the Big Bang to be cyclical.] I next propose a collaborative model of creation as organization.
Our current planet has traces of physical creation that likely lasted 4.5 billion years-following any Platonic or spiritual creation that might have been necessary beforehand. Eternity makes even more time available to us if we need it for the organizing we will do of worlds. Not only will we get there, but we will go beyond, as have earlier beings. There are many dimensions to infinity, and we need vision to see beyond self-limiting beliefs which are sometimes referred to as satanic deceptions.
When I studied physics at University of Chicago, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman in a recorded lecture asked whether it would be possible to learn all of physics so that there would be no physics left to learn. My rumination on that question continues and is foundational to my thinking. You may sense my desire for infinite learning in all areas of epistemology. Whatever reality emerges, this is a dynamic undertaking. If God ain't growin', I ain't goin'.
This is a good point at which to revisit and incorporate the three sequential articles beginning with article 50. It is a dream that continues.
Corollary - future humans
Finally, there is an entirely new dimension to consider, namely continued human evolution. This article has dealt with my linear progression through stages over time. If humans do not destroy the environment sooner, in 100,000 years I would expect the species to have developed beyond what I am. This suggests sentience that has a starting point more advanced than mine. The arc of eternal progression for those individuals likely differs from mine. Therefore, I do not posit a fixed model trajectory that takes humans from birth to states beyond godhood. Instead, I offer an open attitude toward the entire concept of growth, enlightenment, and empowerment. There is unlimited reality beyond scripture. There must also be unlimited reality beyond my expected eternal path.
Corollary - still human
Am I offending other humanists? The study above begins with my human capacity for self-awareness, which is the gold standard here. Citing Plato, not scripture, I posit continuation of existence past my death. Humanists can, after all, be spiritual beyond what we observe physically. Regarding brain surgery, it has been suggested that mental functions are not restricted exclusively to specific brain cells. ("The brain can recruit surviving parts to take over the functions of the damaged areas.") Memory and reason are not physical! Sentience, the essence of ongoing human existence, is not dependent on physical manifestation. If sentience survives death of the brain, physical resurrection is not an absolute requirement for continued enlightenment. Some call this "spirit world." Given ongoing sentience, infinite growth follows.
If atheists fear my future godhood, let them recognize that mine is no threat to theirs-they are free to arrive there before I do. Neither of us believes in a nonexistent omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent power. The godhood we will attain is conceptually distinct from mythology and therefore plausible, not oxymoronic. "They are gods" is a loose phrase I do not use; attaining godhood is not being the one creator God-humanism is satisfied. The defining difference is that the former creator is often understood as having control over other beings, whereas the latter organizer sagaciously excludes control of other beings from the practice of creating new worlds.
Corollary - nuanced, not categorical
Sometimes it appears that disappointed people rush to get out of the church. Often, they feel betrayed when they uncover doctrinal inconsistencies and historical lies. Perhaps the church brings this rejection on itself by initially making categorical declarations. For example, leaders often say that the church rises or falls on the truth of the Book of Mormon or the testimony of Joseph Smith. Is there any surprise when members make equally categorical responses and jump ship?
In fact, loving my longtime friends has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, or other religious tenets. I might intentionally socialize with people like me, but the likeness is our common pursuit of progress. Compatibility accommodates diversity. We share respect and dignity, not identical beliefs. Without believing in the divinity of scripture, I still love the people who do. Goodness is not the supposed facts we believe; it is the constructive actions we do. Walking away from collaboration is a devastating loss of opportunity.
Ecumenism sometimes invokes the metaphor that we are all on paths up the same mountain. That feels restrictive to me. I am in unity with others even though we are climbing different mountains. My inclusive metaphor is more universal!
Corollary - sempre fidelis
Falsehoods do not overpower truth. Difficulties in the church cannot take away my expectation of eternal progression. I respect and honor the viewpoints of others. My failure to share them does not invalidate them. By the same token, what others believe does not invalidate what I believe; the thinking of others cannot hurt me.
My life is enriched by family, friendships, and expectation of godhood without straining to believe the improbable. Valid discipline is living morally, a socially beneficial goal common to Church and humanism. The germinal concepts of human equality and eternal progression survive scrutiny and contribute to my definition of godhood.
Does my liberation from Plato's cave, that is, from intellectual overbearing, make any difference? Yes, it yields a positive difference: It facilitates even more understanding love toward those who differ from me. Those who adore Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon may initially feel that I am abandoning their viewpoint, but they realize that I have not abandoned the practice of love, including love for the ones who have been calling me delusional. They understand that my love does not change and that their dogma is no obstacle. My academic belief system does NOT destroy the collaborative community in which we develop mutual future godhood. That is the real Church! It is about us, not about me.
Life is to promote my neighbor's welfare-not by competition, but by collaboration and sharing. Human intelligence is the capacity to apply love to the details.
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