Pondering Magic and Mystery

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, universe, magic, mystery, deep magic, LewisWhen I was quite young, 12-13, I dabbled in magic. Nothing serious at first, but then it started to draw me in. there are, of course, simple tricks that can be done with slight-of-hand or through hidden mechanical devices. These were simple and fun presentations that astonished my fellow 13 year olds. But the more I got into the sport of magic the deeper I wanted to go.

Toying with the deeper aspects of magic was exciting. Then it grew subtly darker, alluring me and luring me in, to a point where it became increasingly uncomfortable. There came over me a sense of exhilaration at the prospect of manipulating this darker power; until one performance where things got terribly out of control. I had gone too far; I was in too deep and I knew it.

That was probably the first time I had ever prayed in my life. Not one of those Now I lay me down to sleep…, prayers: more like— O my God! What am I doing? Help me! The next day I burned all my tricks equipment and books on magic in our backyard.

Thanks to C.S. Lewis I have later learned of the deep magic, the cosmic dance of the wonder of this Universe and how it holds together. This truly deep magicis the underlying force that draws all matter, energy, and beings under the constant sustaining care of a God-Creator.

            We ignore these mysteries in this present age to our peril. We disregard them as fancy, fables, myths, or archaic religious fairy-tales. But the question remains— Why have they persisted from antiquity into this supposedly postChristian, empirical, “scientific” age? Could it be that there are different kinds of Truths that persist even though they are undiscoverable through our scientific method? Maybe the mystery and magic of old persist because they are real, yet exist in a realm that does not fit our investigations.

            Yet today we insist that science and religion are enemies. Science is about discovering truth: religion is about myth, fanciful postulations for the yet undiscovered. Really!?!

            Do we actually believe that ALL that can be known will be discovered by scientific methodology? Is human ingenuity that stunted? Is human arrogance that portentous? Then we must determine that either our minds are too feeble to make room for the grandeur that is our realm; or, that the wonder of our universe is not that spectacular at all.

            With the myriad of discoveries unveiled seemingly every day I dare say we are in over our heads on either account. Our universe is still full of magic, and certainly full of mystery.

            So help us God!

A fellow journeyman,

Gary

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Mystery & Mysticism

 

 Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, science, mystery, AweWe’re missing something in Western culture. We’ve lost a sense of awe of amazement, of wonderand reverence. We’ve settled for scientific discovery as a finding in the natural world, be they earth-bound or galactic. Though the scientists, biologists, geneticists, astronomers and medical researchers who uncovered them are far more thrilled than the rest of us, in general, outside the scientific community; we have come to accept discovery as commonplace— as if we have been doing this since the inception of the universe. Not so.

             Though the Ancients may have been visited by extra-terrestrial beings to start them along their path of technology, in more recent days, say the past 2,500 years, we have come to rely on innovation and invention. A rudimentary scientific method was initiated by Parmenides in the 5th century BCE. The “scientific method” as we know it, was formulated almost entirely by Galileo Galilei in the 16th century; his question-hypothesis-speculation provided us with an even more precise approach through which to screen and test our findings.

            Still, there is something missing. It is that sense of mystery when we gaze into the heavens. With the naked eye we cannot even see their end:  with a telescope, a little deeper; with the Hubble Telescope, deeper; a radio-telegraph, even deeper. Wouldn’t you think that measuring something 45,000,000,000,000 light years away might provoke a sense of awe onto the gazer? How far away is that, actually? Well, try this— http://scaleofuniverse.com/

If we could use the world’s largest electron microscope, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, we would see the order and accident of the universe at a minutia level, far below the atomic level. Coupling the breadth of the universe with the order and accident at the 0.0000000001 yoctometric level (quantum foam & string theory stuff), it should be observably obvious that the universe, this earth, and our own bodies are very intricate entities.

But with these incredible measuring devices where is the mystery? Where is the awe and amazement? As science uncovers more of the complexity of our world, be it across the universe or within the electron of an atom, it seems, to this writer, that there is little probability of it all staying in balance through mere coincidence and chance. The survival of the fittest hypothesis seems just too simplistic.

Is it possible that the mystery and awe have been there all along? Just not discoverable with our measuring tools. Rather, it is within the human spirit, of which we all partake; but also for whom this universe was created. It has been said that God creates: we measure. Maybe our past mystical experiences were not merely flights of fancy after all; but rather explanations of what we had actually seen, yet not measured. Mysticism unmeasured.

If it turns out that We are what all of this is about, then there will truly be a time of celebration and rejoicing…, not to mention our great humility and contrition.

For what it’s worth,

Gary

 

Simple Questions

Too often in life we believe there is a simple answer for everything. Some believe that the simplest answer is most probably the right one. And, in some cases, that is true. But the more we learn, as created beings, the more we discover that this created realm in which we live is far more wondrous and sophisticated than we ever could have imagined.

Take gravity, for example; before Einstein who would have imagined that is was due to the curvature of space?!? Or, that before Watson & Crick, all life is based on a double helix molecular strand, our Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), that encodes the development of all life? Or, that, before Howard Gardner, there were different forms of intelligence, not measurable by standardized IQ tests? (Visual Kinesthetic, for one.)

In studying human nature the jury is still out. Are we basically good, evil, or a mixture of both? Can our human nature change? Can our basic personality change? None of these are simple questions, nor do they have simple answers.

Nonetheless, we crave simple answers. Why? Because complicated, complex answers are too much work. We’ve become a people whose lives are so complicated and busy that having to deal with anymore complication is just too much! If the questions were simpleother people would already have provided the simple answers. The reality of the matter is— that for every complex, complicated question, there is a complex, complicated answer; which, sometime, can be boiled down to a v-e-r-y simple answer. Sometimes. Not all the time.

The point is that we need to face both the difficult, convoluted questions, as well as the ones that resolve simply. When we initially face them, how can we know which is which? Well, some questions scream complication. With other questions, the answer seems obvious. So do we give up when the simple answer turns out to have more facets than we originally thought? I would hope not. [Please note, though—this comes from a man who does not hesitate to ask for directions. After earning five graduate degrees I have come to understand just how little I know or understand.]

During my doctoral pursuit I was rewarded with this fortune cookie at Panda East—Nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished without passion. This seems a good axiom to follow when it comes to questions. Simple question: hard question. What difference does it make?!? It is all about discovering the riddles of life and the universe to make more sense of our own lives. What do we have to lose! Certainly not faith; faith is the energy we run on as we seek those answers we believe are out there, somewhere. Trust God. Dig in. Don’t give up.

Have a nice week,

Gary

searching for eternity

Our world is such a fractured convolution of philosophies and religions. Through the catastrophes of the Twentieth Century many people have adopted a godless foundation. Amongst religious peoples factions and divisions have splintered; Islam, Christianity and Judaism. China is experiencing an expansion in both the Christian faith and animism. Science believes it is coming closer to uncovering the primal source of all life, of everything- the elusive Higgs-boson particle, the “God particle.”

Furthermore, worldwide, there is a heightened interest in finding both the source of all life, as well as verifying the existence of what comes next-eternity. To be sure, the majority of this earth’s peoples believe in an afterlife. For some, strict rules must be followed to enter eternity, the great beyond, the afterlife, heaven. For others, there is still a degree of doubt it even exists. For me, personally, proof for any life beyond this one escaped me for years. Now, not so much. Why? What follows is my list of evidence for the existence of God and His eternity.

1. The Theory of Compiled Coincidences- At one time our lawyer said to me, “You have once-in-a-lifetime experiences on a regular basis.” He was quite right. Too many things have happened to my wife and I that could only be attributed to a God in the heavens. Why? I’ll have to ask him. When I get into His heaven, that is.

2. The Existence of Death- Death just doesn’t fit life. We grow, are nurtured, learn skills, develop character, care for others, & serve our society. Then, it’s all over!?! It just doesn’t fit. There has to be something more, a life beyond this life. C.S. Lewis once commented, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” Reasonable?

3. World Religions- Humanity has gathered for worship of a deity (deities) since pre-recorded history. Archaeologists have uncovered cave drawings and artifacts of worship dating back as far as 70,000 BCE. [https://sharepoint.ocsarts.net/student/…pg 8-9] Though it was once believed clans formed for the sake of agriculture & protection, recent archaeological evidence has revealed that religious beliefs played an equal role in community formation.

4. Our sense of “something more”- This wonderment of something more comes in those times of uncertainty, maybe following the death of a loved one, a tragedy, or a near-death experience. We wonder about many things in these times; but why do we wonder about the possibility of something more…, something beyond what we can see, touch, hear, and taste?

5. Dr. Eben Alexander- Dr Alexander is a man of science, a neurosurgeon. By his own admission, though he claimed to be a Christian, it was in name only. Then, after a severe trauma in 2008, he plunged into a deep coma. There, he claims he went on a journey to heaven. Although neuroscience can explain many of the reactions of the brain while in a coma, there was no scientific explanation of Dr. Alexander’s images.http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/10/07/proof-of-heaven-a-doctor-s-experience-with-the-afterlife.html

Western science is a marvelous thing; but there are some realms where a scientist’s research and reasons are in over their heads. It postulates explanations with a certitude claiming, we just need a little more time. OR, might there be a totally different approach to which they are blind-sided?

In any case, I like my evidence for eternity, non-scientific though it might be. Maybe you have had experiences of eternity that science can explain away, given enough time. But I doubt it.

Have a nice week,

Gary

the fact of the matter…

Reference— A fact (derived from the Latin factum) is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is, whether it can be proven to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts. Scientific facts are verified by repeatable experiments… . Fact is sometimes used synonymously with truth, as distinct from opinions, falsehoods, or matters of taste.  [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact#Fact_in_history]

Facts are slippery little things. For example, what is a historical fact, an emotional fact, a legal fact? Whole fields of philosophy are devoted to the study of facts- Ontology (what is actually there), and Epistemology (how we know things). For instance, because something can be stated as True, does is make it True? God is a giraffe with butterfly wings, or, there is no God, or, the earth once had two moons, or, Beatrice loves me. Does she, really? How do you know any of these statements are True?

The fact of the matter is that too many of us create facts to fit our beliefs, our way of life, our preferences—  in morality, interpersonal relationships, and in business practice. Too many of us simply believe that facts are predicated on our individual, personal preferences. Can you hear that? Think a minute. This is probably the most implausible fact of all! What happened to real reality?!?

Then there are the issues surrounding religious facts— miracles, the historical writings of religions and their founding, the verifiability and reliability of people like Abraham, Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, Lao Tsu, Gandhi. What’s a body to do? How do you determine which religion is “true?”

Which brings us to one final question—  What if…? What if the fact of the matter actually does lie in an otherworldly, spiritual realm that contains Ultimate Truths? How do we blend the supernatural with what we believe about this natural realm? Maybe there is more to “religious facts,” than we want to acknowledge. This clearly calls for further, deeper investigation and discussion. Contact me.

There now…, haven’t I mussed up your mind for the day?!?

Have a nice week,

Gary

the invention of God

It has been postulated that one of the corollaries of the evolutionary process, inevitably, would be the invention of God. This hypothesis theorizes that the transition between homo erectus and homo sapiens brought about our ability to observe the heavens and muse about the formation of everything we observed. Mental inquisitiveness, unfortunately, preceded mental capacity and technological contraptions. Thus, the only recourse left to our ancient ancestors was to posit a divine entity as the creator, sustainer, and primal causeof everything. But of course! It just makes sense. Right?!?

What is odd is that most ancient peoples postulated God with similar characteristics. All powerful, determining the seasons, controlling natural phenomenon, providing rewards for worship, punishment for disobedience, etc. Almost certainly this was mere coincidence, given their observations of similarly unexplained wonders. Yet as homo sapiens developed communities they invented different regional names for God—  Ra, Adi Purush, Zeus, Thor, I AM WHO I AM, Jesus, Allah, YHWH (יהוה), Baha, Ahura Mazda. To this day, there are ancient animistic deities yet being discovered. Each “religion” then created initiation rites, ritual celebrations, and taboos (sins).

Religion dominated both the ancient world, stemming from some common root in a time before recorded history, and continued developing in civilizations such as Egypt, Teutonic Europe, Mesoamerica, and Asia. Except for a brief period when the Greeks blended religion and science, religion’s prominence, at least in the West, held firm until the 15th century. Then the Renaissance in art and the Enlightenment in science supplanted religion and seized center-stage as the rational explanation of the universe and its mechanisms. The Modern Era was launched. “God” and the church became overshadowed by the “scientific method.”

However, today, as I snatch moments to ponder our universe and the religious wonderings in our past, I wonder…, I wonder if our ancient ancestors didn’t know something about the universe, the stars, and creation that we, in this postmodern, postChristian world, have lost? Were they in closer proximity to an actual Creator than we might imagine? Maybe they were not trying to explain the universe through “religion” but simply reporting, with some variation, what they already comprehended and understood as the true nature of things.

Maybe it wasn’t God who was invented…, but us.

Have a nice week,

Gary