/ Cosmology / Theo … /
The mailman delivers the letter. He’s entrusted with it. Does the mailman have to know the message? Or is the message none of the mailman’s business?
God gave Jesus messages to deliver. Is it our business to know exactly what or how many? Or is it God’s business to judge whether or not we got Message1 (or Message2, or Message3 …)?
And, if we didn’t, how come? Was the delivery sabotaged in more than one way? Maybe the message itself was sabotaged.
(Or, maybe God doesn’t matter: maybe only the truth matters: if we’re too stupid to live, why should anyone or any being have to say it out loud?)
Puzo’s Cully invites the girl to his room in the Vegas hotel. She sees him put a $100 bill into an enveloope – for her cab fare. But Cully has switched envelopes on her. The enveope she rips open the second she’s in the cab has a $10 bill! Is it her business what’s in the envelope before she’s in the cab? or is it only her business that she has an envelope?
Hamlet goes off with his school chums. They carry a sealed envelope from the Danish king: Claudius, the murdering userper. They give the letter to the English king. “Dear Brother England”, says Brother Denmark in my loose paraphrase. “Here’s my son-in-law, Hamlet. Do me a favor and kill him, please.” But Hamlet, who carries his own royal seal, after all he’s the heir, has opened the seal, read the letter. Hamlet has altered the letter to say “Dear Brother England, Here’s my son-in-law, Hamlet. Do me a favor and kill the two guys he’s with, please.” That changes matters, doesn’t it?
And since Hamlet is more the true heir than Claudius, isn’t his altered message really the real message? Royally sealed.
Jesus went into the desert. Jesus prayed and prayed. Jesus knew he had a message of God to deliver to the Jews. Actually Jesus then also wanted it delivered to everybody. Good. But: does Jesus necessarily know all the messages he’s carrying? Could God modify any of the messages while Jesus is carrying them? (Different dogmas will answer differently, but I’m not representing any dogma; I’m dealing in symbols. Actually dogmatics won’t answer at all, dogmatics won’t be reading me: certainly won’t be encouraging others to read me.)
The butterfly knows it’s drinking nectar from the flower: need the butterfly know it’a also taking pollen on board? It’s possible to know about the necter and not to know about the pollen. Partial knowledge is inevitable. I doubt that any knowledge is complete.
I know some of the messages that God gave me to deliver. For example I know that God had me offer you cybernetic data bases, modifiable via modem, that could have sufficed for a free market internet, starting in 1970 with my reading Ivan Illich and founding the Free Learning Exchange. I don’t doubt that Monseigneur Illich knew what he was doing in parallel, ahead of me, ahead of us all. But I have no idea what portion of totality my awareness comprises. Did God also send you a message saying, “Here is my son, your father, Ivan Illich, accompanied by a couple of crazy saints: don’t give him anything! See that he starves. Stand idle while the kleptocrats put him in jail, destroy all my messages. (Otherwise, how’m I gonna burn them all for eternity?)”
God showed me part of what he intended, as I don’t doubt he’d already shown Illich. But that doesn’t mean he showed me all. And I have no guarantee that God didn’t modify the first, second, and other messages: after 1970.
Maybe Cully wanted the girl to get $100 before they got to his room. Maybe Cully had the girl, and thought, “Eh, $10 is all that was worth.” Cully could have given her the $100 envelope on her way out; what he gave her was the $10. (Another guy could have given the girl an empty envelope.)
God showed Galileo how to build a telescope. (God was aided by the Dutch of course, had already spoken to them.) Galileo saw Jupiter, saw moons. Since then God has shown lots to lots (aided by the Dutch and lots of others: we’ve seen Jupiter … Then we saw Pluto, now planets never named before.
What did Galileo get? Threats of torture, by the kleptocrats who run the Church (and the Universities).
Do the churches get God’s messages wrong deliberately?
When the monks miscopy the Bible, are any of the mistakes conscious?
I think the Temple of Jerusalem did. The kleptocrats had to protect their money tables, their animal sacrifice frauds.
Above in my use of the symbol “god”, whether capitalized or not, I am of course employing, and goofing against, the myth of god as infallible. I never swallowed any idea of the Pope as infallible, but I did formerly swallow the idea that god was what was right, true, incontrovertible: the area in which the map and the territory agree: no need to check exhaustively. That too though can be thought through. What kind of sense would it make to have a cosmology in which the truth was half-true? or 3/4 true?
How about if Jesus’s first message was true, and his second message was true, but his third message false? And of course you’d still have to distinguish which messages if any he’s aware of.
Hamlet read Rosencrantz and Gildenstern’s letter: maybe Jesus did not!
Now: me: I read the Bible a fair amount when I was ten; but I’ve read it very little since I was ten. My reading is far more skilled now, even at 77, than it was when I was ten: so: have I ever read the Bible with all my skill? Only a very little bit of it actually.
But I don’t need to: once you see that the Bible is N% hooey it matters little whether it’s 67% or 68%. Once you know that Nixon is the liar you don’t know to know exactly which detail is false: you simply subtract credibility from him. and from the school, and from the press, and from the church …
God gives us a message: Thou shalt not kill. Examination shows that it’s not as transparent as it at first seems, but we say we get it: God reveals the law, the messenger delivers the message, we, the audience, the congregation, get it. Thou shalt not kill. Good. Let a century pass, a millennium: has anyone killed anyone? How about King David with his piles of body parts? Does King David obey the law? Does he know the law? Is he above the law?
This could go in more than one direction, at more than one depth: but never mind, let me get to the next major point: Imagine there’s God, and his messages, his laws, and his messengers. Let’s even imagine that God has a congregation which understands the law and obey’s the law. Let’s imagine the once Moses has delivered the Commandments, that no Jew has ever killed: no murder, no war … no revenge …
Now: does that suffice? Is hearing God on the subject sufficient for sustained survival? In other words, has God told the Jews, and now us Christians too, everything we need to know?
Let’s say that we don’t kill. Never mind whether we kill chickens, or pigs, or fish … or raddishes … Do we know everything we need to know to survive? What if we don’t kill, but do burn up, and blow up, all the fossil fuels? What if we ignite global warming? and set ambient termperatures near kindling, near boiling, superheating everything? We don’t kill, not even a carrot; are we now going to heaven? Are we immortal, will we live forever? Jews? Christians?
God told us ten things we needed to know: but did he tell us all we need to know? Let’s concede that we need God. We think we have the formula to have and hold God: is it enough? is God the only God we need? Shouldn’t we maybe understand a little bit about global warming as well as to know not to kill?
Imagine Abraham knows God perfectly. Imagine Peter knows Jesus perfectly. Abraham and Peter know not to kill: but they drive their Cadillac until the desert melts?
What if Abraham and Peter don’t drive their Cadillac until the desert melts but do aim their rocket ship toward Mars without knowing c., the velocity of light, accurately? What if their orthodoxy calculates that they can rocket from Earth to Mars with enough sandwiches for three days but Mars is actually three years away? Maybe they don’t kill, but aren’t they still too stupid to live?
If we’re too stupid to live, is it God’s fault? Abraham’s? … Lincoln’s? Now there’s a famous American who didn’t even know not to kill!