Is God our parent or our child? You might assume, in this environment,
that anyone asking this question has a candidate answer. I do. The
punch line of my philosophy -- which is where I start publicly, on
the theory that people do not long attend to philosophic arguments
without the assumption that they are going somewhere -- is the latter.
My epistemology is the scientific, which I reduce to its nontechnical
basis as the idea that ideas about reality must be checked against
reality. The universe that consistent application of this principle
reveals shows us as a local product of over 13 billion years of evolution
(physical, chemical, biological, social, and eventually spiritual),
during almost all of which there is no evidence of the existence of
an infinite, or even living or conscious, God. The universe starts and
simply operates during this time by itself. The concept of "God"
as many of our species hold it, appears only, so far as we can tell
or so far imagine, with relation to this one planet, within the last few
thousand revolutions made by it around the primary star we call
"The Sun," to name a perceived being greater than ourselves.
Notice that I say "greater than ourselves." I think that far too many
humans use terms like "infinite," "omnipresent," "omnipotent," etc.,
to refer to a being we experience with awe, love and worship, without
any justifiable idea of what these terms might mean in real life.
I see this as a consequence of what I term "the great sin of pride,"
the assumption that we are so high on all scales that any entity
significantly greater than us must be without limit. To the contrary,
we are not at the level of angels (assuming such beings exist), as
readily evidenced by much of what we do.
"A being we experience." There's the rub, for those who look at the
long past without the existence of a God and conclude from that that
there is no God. People do experience a greater being with awe,
love and worship. To anyone who uses the principle of science
epistemologically, a hypothesis about reality has to account for all of
it, just as in science as a profession a "Theory Of Everything" fails
if it doesn't account for all relevant observations.
So I hold that God is a real entity, recent, local and an advance
on what came before, including us -- who have the same characteristics.
The sensible conclusion is then, to me, that God is a product of
some kind of evolution. Products of evolution have in common that
they consist of forming entities, acting in a forming relation.
I believe that in this case the forming entities are us, and,
considering the body of religious experiences, that the forming
relation is love. That's love in a general sense, embracing romantic
and much sexual activity, meditation and much prayer, surrender
to the experience of God, friendship, etc. These kinds of love are
various. What do they have in common? They all involve (and may
be distinguished from, say, unloving lust, because they involve)
"the consciousness of unity," which I put here in quotes because
I make it one of my key definitions.
So that's what I mean by "God is not our parent, but our child."
Is this a demonstrable theory? No, it's a belief. At the advancing
edge of knowledge, there is always an area which requires, for us to
live, action based on insufficient knowledge. That action is what
we call "a leap of faith," which as you can see I have made.
The above is a brief presentation. If you would like to read more,
go to my website, anthonybuckland.com -- and in any case, I would
very much like to read your comments.