Appreciation (56)… Can god learn?
Sept 26, 2015
I have regular more or less direct engagements with people who lay claim to know what god thinks, deriving from this fact a penchant for insisting the rest of us should do X or Y. It has been so for millennia. There’s bunches of such knowers assembled collectively as the religions of the Book – Jews, Christians and Moslems, in the historical order of their claim to the associated knowledge, all of which was dependent on revelations. And they each, in their more enlightened manifestations, recognise the role of the others in capturing the emerging thinking of god in the three chunks of the Book – the Torah, the New Testament and the Koran. Each chapter is a progressively less mediated relationship with the chief author, culminating with the words out of the mouth of Mohammed being transcribed as they were voiced (a source of much greater authenticity / credibility than the multi-handed reports of the Torah and New Testament, one would think).
The leading practitioners of the Book’s respective chapters, ranging from local priests through greater bishops and Ayatollahs and their associated members, tend to more rigorous views of who holds godly truth, really, in their hands, hearts and heads. From this position they put all the others of various persuasions in the spiritual shade and have enforced it with iron (as much intramurally as extramurally!) over the same millennia. Their respective institutional interests compromise their claims, of course.
For some reason the god in the second and third chunks insisted that the up to that point benighted masses put no other god before she/him/it. This turned out to be a call to arms either in their eventual history (see the Christian wars of religion, the Crusades, the Inquisition,) or Islam’s spread by the proselytising / colonising sword. The latter eventually declined into the schisms of the Succession to the Prophet continuing unresolved to this moment, repeating Christianity’s bad old days.
Now it is interesting to note that there has been nothing new from she/him/it since about 626AD. Even if we count the Book of Mormon (which the others do not) as written from the same source, little has happened in revelatory terms since Mohammed. This fact can be interpreted as a sign of closure to the revelations and so a sign of an end to the god’s learning. Otherwise she/him/it would be forced to speak again from their own emerging truth(s), as happened in the prior two revelations, wouldn’t they??
These affiliates of the god’s have had their terrains encroached by the growth of reason as a factor in grasping the nature of our worlds if not their meanings, which is religion’s real domain. The claim to meaning, however, has to be grounded in a claim to experienced realities, as demonstrated by the Book’s attempts to speak of all things under the sun authoritatively. But then in its times our worlds were more integrated, whole, partitioned only by the facts of life: that it begins and ends. Science and the arts have demonstrated the pretence of this unity at gathering rates for the last few millennia as well.
If anything this fact demonstrates one thing: that the god never had perfect knowledge, and the lack of further revelations suggest she/it/he never will, but the game is hardly over.