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Go With the Flow

Here's the thing about modern theology: Most theologians seem to care more about their religion's dogma than they do about the Truth. Fundamentalists in particular seem to think that if the facts discovered by science contradict their eisegetic interpretation of holy scriptures, the science must be discredited at all costs.

“Christian” fundamentalists insist that both empiricism and objectivity must be abandoned in favor of their ludicrous “intelligent design,” not to mention their equally ludricous insistence that the Bible must be as perfect as God is (that is, inerrant). There are plenty of errors in the Bible, and fundangelical theologians twist themselves into logical pretzels as they attempt to prove that the Bible must be taken at face value here, but must be interpreted metaphysically there — and of course, only they are capable of determining which tactic must be used where.

Other theologians, both “Christian” and Muslim, insist both that God is love — which is true — and that God created the Universe intending that most of its inhabitants would be tortured in Hell for all eternity. (As if eternal agony has anything whatsoever to do with eternal love!) Muslim fundamentalists insist that modernity must be abandoned in favor of a return to the primitive tribal culture of sixth-century Arabia, in which women are possessions and science takes the back seat to the Qur'an. “Christian” fundamentalists insist that modernity must be abandoned in favor of a return to the primitive culture of first-century Judea, in which wealth is equated with virtue; women must “graciously submit” to being second-class citizens at best; and science takes the back seat to the Bible. (Republican fundamentalists, a.k.a. neocons, insist that their neo-fascism is “liberty” and “freedom,” but that's a different rant.)

Here are the points that virtually all monotheistic religions get wrong:

One of the most important revelations of modern science is how right the Buddhists and Confucians are: nothing is static. From God's point of view, the whole Universe is like stop-motion photography. Flowers bloom and die, mountains rise and fall, stars coalesce and explode, nothing stays the same, nothing ever stays the same. Nothing is static, not even God. (Yes, it is possible for perfection to become more perfect — because which is more perfect, the Mona Lisa or the Moonlight Sonata? Or white-chocolate cheesecake?)

The Christian and Muslim obsession with what might or might not happen in any putative afterlife is completely irrelevant to why God created the Universe and how any given human being — you, for example — ought to live day by day. After all, the two Great Commandments to Christians and Jews are to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love the rest of God's creation as much as you love yourself (Deut. 6:4, Lev. 19:18). The commandments say nothing similar to, “Obsess about whether you and your neighbor are going to Heaven and Hell, and live your life (a) working for the carrot and avoiding the stick and (b) proclaiming to your neighbor that unless he believes in your version of the carrot and the stick, he's going to Hell.”

“Rheophilia” comes from Greek roots meaning, “love of the flow.” “Pantheism” means that the Universe and God are the same thing. “Panentheism” means that the Universe is in God, but that God is more than something as insignificant as a mere Universe. This site is called Rheophilia because the flow of change that is moment-by-moment living is of God and is in God just as the Universe is — but rheoëntheism looks like too difficult a word to cope with.

On this site, I will do my best to tell you the truth. Sometimes I will resort to the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian Testament, and occasionally the Qu'ran. Contrary to the explicit claim of the Qu'ran, which is echoed on behalf of the Bible by various fundamentalist Christians, I do not believe that God wrote any of these holy scriptures, all by “him”self, and that they are as perfect and inerrant as God is. God is perfect. Human artifacts are not.

Therefore as much as possible, I will refrain from using quotations from holy scripture to prove any theological point. If an assertion is true, it is true whether or not any holy scripture says so. If it is false, who cares whether the Bible says so, the Qu'ran says so, or the Kama Sutra says so?


21127 : 06Oct10

Mary W. Matthews

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