“Do you believe in God?”
“I do not understand the question.”
This is my answer in a court of law. The court does not have time to define “God.” The undefined question has no answer.
If you please, I can give you, the reader, a hint of the right direction.
Godhood is a future state
of those who are now human beings.
Simple, isn’t it? Every individual has a personal view of the future and crafts a god concept accordingly.
Some people are more comfortable working in the other direction. They wait to be given a god concept and then conform to the heavenly parent’s pattern. Inheriting attributes from a parent seems scientifically acceptable and leads to the same conclusion stated above.
Article 50 “Dreaming failure” and article 51 “Duality in dreams” studied relationships between self and other. The building was a metaphor for the world in which people may be aware of each other. After writing those articles, I realized that the metaphor leads directly to the above definition of God. We are now asking whether we believe in ourselves, using future vision.
Let us review: Progressing toward enlightenment using several passes through the building or world was called reincarnation. Progressing out of the building to one of higher order was called resurrection. Positing an unlimited succession of buildings at ever higher orders introduced Ernstraudian theory of eternal progression.
Monotheism proposes emulating a divine model addressed as God (Allah, etc.). Theological systems target some levels within the Ernstraudian sequence. A few mention resurrection to a superficially described post-mortal place. Others offer more detail, suggesting that growth beyond this world will exceed the growth we experienced here. Eternity is a long time; it is a relief to believe that our growth never stops. Indeed, I speak of “a” future state, not “the” future state. Any set of future states is unique to an individual, and there is no terminal state. The Ernstraudian approach is “proceed at your own pace.”
Buddhism, a nontheist practice, is easily accommodated in this system. A Buddhist writer taught that it is appropriate to address an opponent as a future Buddha, encouraging us to pay high regard to fellow humans and appreciate every individual’s potential. There is an obvious benefit in this gem. Instead of morbid preoccupation with a self-limiting “fallen state,” the future-Buddha view conveys a positive image of the human position. It is fundamental that we go where we look. Let us pursue enlightenment, not mercy. We shed the limitations whenever we decide to learn, and it is unacceptable to surmise that very few humans will advance to higher orders.
Hopefully, atheism omits defining which God does not exist. It is simpler to choose “none of the above” without creating a new dogma called “none.” Ernstraudian theory dissolves the categorical distinctions by starting at the self and projecting forward. Sentient beings with vision do not deny their own existence. Their next step is to acknowledge their potential. Simple, isn’t it?
This may be all the god-related discussion you want to endure. For the courageous, here is enrichment discussion of the human collective subconscious and the overlapping of developmental states.
Consider the human collective subconscious: People inherently hold before themselves (worship) an expectation of what they hope to become. This practice is deeper and more fundamental than mere goal setting. It is an innate human function that explains the man-made god, an understanding of divinity limited by how far we project our own futures. The mirror image or inverse statement is that God made man. Ernstraudian philosophy acknowledges and addresses both viewpoints.
Not everything is reversible. An event cannot un-happen. However, the current metaphors can be read in either direction, just as some phenomena of physics can be repeated in either direction, for example, gamma ray in or gamma ray out. The thought that we create the god who created us is not entirely circular. It can be viewed from opposite ends. Regardless where creation began, we do create our own worlds.
One of my mental games is imagining a final judgment in which a person is sent to the place that he describes as heaven. Basically, the system grants people what they request. The selfish are shortchanged, left far behind those who have learned being for others. “Your just reward” is not a happy phrase. We create our own worlds and our own heavens, too, unskilled though we may be.
The higher orders we are discussing overlap. Mortals obviously pass on at different stages of development. Death, reincarnation, resurrection, or progression is not a process that occurs automatically when one reaches a prescribed degree of learning. One steps into a personal “millennium” state or heaven when ready, not when a Messiah arrives. Buddhism similarly recognizes bodhisattvas who remain among us although they are prepared for the higher order. Thus, overlapping orders of development can be found in a given place and time.
Written scriptures raise awareness to a degree, but Article 22 “Rising above altruism” shows that mortals are not limited to descriptions found in the Bible. Hopefully, we ascend above the “fallen state” view of humans by being more enlightened than those humans to and about whom the Bible was written. As my vision increases with age, my expectations increase above what was read to me as a child.
The dynamic heaven of growth is not well described in ancient writings. In fact, failure to grow is death. Eternal existence alone does not distinguish us from the material world. The capacity to grow makes us living creatures. Entering a state of no growth would be a descent below our present condition.
Ernstraudian theory is a growth model. Using the building metaphor in article 50, each of us is working on a next building to experience. We play it forward: our present expectations are foundational to our future creations.