Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mystics and scientists

Understanding spiritual concepts can be challenging. It’s not like understanding science or math or a thousand other ideas related to physical reality.

I suspect many readers who begin my book think it’s all about debunking the Christian myth. I often hear Bishop Spong mentioned and confess it slightly disappoints me.

But I savor the comment of the reader who said my book gave him a clear understanding of the distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. This suggests an understanding of religious myth.

I’d like readers to see that religious myths are not lies, not deliberate deceptions. This is important. Another is the distinction between God and external deities. The mythical figures in religious mythologies are God-IMAGES, not the spiritual reality called God.

Almost all our public discourse in the West muddles this distinction. It speaks of God as an external deity, a separate entity, an individual, a humanlike figure with humanlike thoughts.

Leading-edge science suggests these words as better synonyms for “God”: Force, Energy, Light, Field, Source, Consciousness, Mind. These also are words mystics have used.

Two different persons recommended a book I haven’t read yet, but intend to, because it promises to treat this subject scientifically—The Field by Lynne McTaggart, which describes the zero point quantum energy field. The website is
http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~sai/McTag_field.htm#About

To understand religious myth, it helps to have a relationship with the nameless Something we call God. This doesn’t have to be religious at all. Many mystics have no religious affiliation.

I hope readers go back to my passages about myth in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky and use my bibliography to continue their study. I close with a quotation emailed to me, the words of Hassidic teacher Avram Davis, taken from a book called The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman.
There is only one God, by which we mean the Oneness that subsumes all categories [the One in the first of the Ten Commandments]. We might call this Oneness the ocean of reality and everything that swims in it.
There is only one "zot," thisness. Zot is a feminine word for "this." The word zot is itself one of the names of God—the thisness of what is.
To some this will seem to be nonsense; to others mystical truth.
Jeanette

3 comments:

darvish said...

There is great truth in what you say, dear Sister. The Sufis have always said this in many different ways. As one Sufi has said, "Whatever you think God is, is not God. God is infinite, and beyond the comprehension of the finite mind."

Peace and Many Blessings!

Jeanette said...

This Sufi comment echoes a Hindu comment that I quote in my chapter on myth. Thank you.
Jeanette

Baekho said...

Very nice blog you have here, Jeanette---we seem to have a lot in common when it comes to spirituality.

Isn't it interesting that the truth of the mystics always sounds like "nonsense"? I also like your distinction betwen historical fact and mythological truth, something that few modern people seem to understand.