Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Cosmology / god /
How long, Oh Lord?
“People’s beliefs are connected neither to experience nor to literature,” I wrote a couple of hours ago in God: According to the Bible. I also referred to the Jews’ (self-authored) belief that they are the Chosen People. I also referred to Ivan Illich, not for the first time, not only as a saint, but the greatest saint. Now: no one needs to point out to me that he hasn’t been canonized: can’t be, not yet, under the rules.
So here’s an important question. Answer it slowly: and remember your answer. If Jesus was God, was he God at birth? Was he God when he started his preaching? Or was he God only after being elected to be so by certain Christian theologians?
Was Einstein smart when he theorized Relativity? or only after Life Magazine called him a genius? or only after the subscribers bought the description? Will Einstein cease to be a genius if we change our minds? go gadding after something else?
Was Saint Peter a saint while being crucified upside down? or only later, when the Church said so?
2006 04 14 We behave as though our perceptions were direct, objective, “true” — independent of the weather. We know that other people’s perceptions, in the past, in benighted times, have been colored by circumstance, by setting, but we think we’re different. We think we would recognize Jesus as Christ while he was being scourged, while he was under armed guard, while he was being crucified. In 2006 we think that we would have recognized Mandella as a hero while he was in jail, seen that Martin Luther King was saying something worthy and well in 1966. Well, I admit: some people think anybody in jail is a hero. But no. Perception is very much colored by circumstance, by cultural setting: and cultural settings change over time. We’ll see the guy in the dock very differently from the guy surrounded by eager paparazzi. Very few individuals are capable of forming or holding their own opinion in a crowd. Very few. Indeed, I’ll say none.
The question becomes a set of questions. The questions may colonize other areas, some not quite directly next door to the point of departure. It’s announced and repeated in the Bible that the Jews are God’s Chosen. When did God make that covenant? Let’s say it was three thousand years ago, a round number: close enough. Tradition has it that God doesn’t change his mind. It’s assumed that God will keep any such word: we’re not supposed to have to worry about any more floods. But does that make sense? OK, sure, man doesn’t have any sense: I agree. But does it make sense by divine sense? Does it make sense by any kind of sense? Your neighbor is afraid to shake hands. You say, “What’s the matter? I’m not going to bite you. I promise I’m not going to kill you.” Your neighbor comes forward, shakes hands, eats your supper, sleeps with your son, seduces your daughter, rapes your wife, takes the silver, and poisons your cattle. Do you really have to keep your word? Wasn’t it foolish to promise anything in advance? Shouldn’t God wait until Judgment, and then decide who his Chosen is: if he still wants a Chosen.
Fortunately for God, he never seemed to have specified what the Jews were chosen for: so, actually, he keeps his free will.
Free will. That’s just it: does God have free will? Once the Pope has promised that God will do this or that is God stuck? Does the Pope’s word have to be identical to God’s word?