Saturday, August 22, 2015

Humble god or not ed 2/15/16

Of all the political correctness we suffer, the most ruinous is capitalizing the word “god,” which the press does routinely. One does not need to question the existence of gods to realize that naming a god or the god seems arrogant against reality. Furthermore, the scripture Mom and Dad taught, Exodus 20:7, warns against naming a god. More importantly, physics-based ethics, a phrase that is missing in common discourse, has rendered obsolete the gods that humankind has contrived so far, including the scholarly, traditional god of everything. Yet society (not a civic people) demands that writers capitalize “god.”
            "Civic" refers to connections that exist because persons collaborate to live during the same years in the same land--real estate--rather than "social" which implies preference such as church, art, culture, avocation and other reasons for association among the people, some of whom want alienation, harm, criminality and evil. Some readers resist those three word usages but the stated distinctions remain.             
There’s a pretense that the capital “g” makes the speaker or writer and audience prescient, omniscient, or otherwise powerful. Reality checks don’t phase the pretense. For example, the discovery that the sun is a natural nuclear reactor and thus not the god of everything does not lessen the imaginings about a god of everything. Perhaps some people hold the opinion that capitalizing “god” is humble; but such pretense contradicts the message from “scripture,” as well as any theist who defines his god differently. Humankind should reform from this practice for the sake of clarity and humility and to stop self-contradiction and brutality over opinions about gods.
 Lately, I have written many comments and essays wherein I sarcastically "deified" men’s actions, to indicate that the men used their god to justify evil. For example, I began in online commentary:
The Civil War informed us that anytime a people rebuke physics-based ethics, they invite woe. According to physics, a person cannot own the fruits of another person's labor:  A person  cannot own a person. [Forcing a person into slavery is a misuse of physics.]

The Civil War informed us that a people who employ a god--express personal opinion as the voice of a god--invite personal woe. Millennia ago, the evil of slavery should have become evident to African gods. The advent of guns should not have motivated papal gods to commission acquisition by invasion of lands and conversion, enslavement, or murder of the inhabitants (1452 papal bull) or to use the African slave trade to accelerate the settlement of invaded lands (1455 papal bull). The evil of slavery was evident to many 17th century colonists and to Thomas Paine in his 1775 letter.[i]

In the above post, I think I mimic with more clarity a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

In telling this tale I attempt no compliment to my own sagacity. I claim not to have controlled  events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three 
years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.[1]

Perhaps Lincoln unintentionally obfuscates his message by using the capital “g.” Or perhaps he is just being political. His claim "that events have controlled me," followed by "God alone can claim it," contradicts the idea that "God" controlled the events that controlled Lincoln. To paraphrase Lincoln’s message, I might write the following:

I’d like to add that I did not cause the Civil War. The north god, god being human opinion expressed as divine understanding, no longer able to brook an evil it had collaborated
on, namely the evil of slavery in the USA, broke its 1774 confederation agreement and 1787 constitutional commitments. The south god, misusing master-slave scripture, neither perceived nor confronted the above mentioned breaches, but rather imposed the King of England's 1783 recognition of them as free and independent states. The south god opted for secession, but the breaching north god would not allow it. After history has long forgotten the nation’s ruin, governance under its god will be restored. It should be apparent that such governance is disastrous.

Obviously, I included some historical facts Lincoln must have perceived differently. By using the lower case “g” I am not politically correct, unless its Exodus 20:7 politics as I see it, but I make the North’s breech of agreement clear. One other factor about which Lincoln was well aware is that the North had superior military power: the ability to use force rather than negotiate slavery-abolition. Whereas the original slave-state ration was 8:5, it had evolved to 15:19.  From the breech of constitutional contract, one can leap to the conjecture that the North's use of its superior power to effect the abolition of slavery was civic immorality.

            If it is not clear, let me point out that the twelve states (excluded Georgia) that signed the 1774 Articles of Association stated to Great Britain, “we will wholly discontinue the slave trade.” They were well aware of slavery's evil affects on them and perceived that they could handle the economic change if England would cooperate to end the slave trade. In 1787, the thirteen independent states agreed to end slave trade in 20 years after ratification, but to maintain slaves at 0.6 person each so that the South would not have "unfair" representation. Also, the South understood that the evil of slavery had been accepted on scripture-interpretation long ago, whether individuals in the North agreed with the Bible interpretation or not. In other words, the agreements made in perpetuity tacitly spoke for the Biblical master-slave relationship as valid in the USA. But as states joined the country the ratio of slave states changed from 1.6:1 to 0.79:1 and for the 13 seceding states 0.38:1. That's a 420% change from strongly negative to strongly positive in the abolition balance of military power. I think Lincoln arrogantly expressed this change in his first inaugural address. The history of religious acceptance of the civic evil inspired the South to focus on the constitutional breach against them, as stated in the declaration of secession. That history dates back to the papal bull of 1455 assigning to Portugal the monopoly on African slave trade.

Viewing the slave debate from before 1452, setting forth the doctrine of discovery, and with the humility of the lower case “g,” we may perceive that the south god was defending against the north god the collective actions of prior African gods, papal gods, sectarian gods, and England’s god. All those gods had rebuked physics-based ethics, which informs that a person cannot own a person. All except the African gods were reading the same scripture. One might assert that those bible thumping gods were merely opportunists exploiting error by the African gods who sold Africans. “Bible thumping” refers to using so called scripture to justify wrong.
Some persons may be constrained to ask: What motivates people to rebuke literature advice in Exodus 20:7 and name a personal or scriptural god “God.” What I feel I have experienced is that in debate of heartfelt issues, people reach the limit of their understanding. Hence, to defend their opinion, they invoke their god and assert that that their god is the god of everything, so as to offer their opponent no choice but to retreat from the argument:  Since physics does not negate the god hypothesis, the opponent is in no position to disprove any god. This political correctness is ruinous in the mouths and hands of princes and presidents. People with power use the capital “g” to control people--often to send them to war or persuade them to be martyrs. If each person adopted the humility to regard the god of everything as independent from his/her mind, government’s ability to partner with church to enslave believers would be nullified. The people's pride in their personal god empowers the politician-priest partnership to enslave the people. (As pointed out by Machiavelli in "The Prince," Chapter XI.

America has governance “under God,” a blatant rebuke against physics. Physics is energy, mass, and space-time from which everything emerged after the big bang, some 13.8 billion years ago. Biology, awareness, understanding, and fiction emerge from physics. Humankind discovers and works to understand physics and how to make best use of it: Thus, upon understanding physics, humankind is able to determine ethical practices. In other words, humankind discovers physics-based ethics—does not construct either physics or ethics. This is how physics-based ethics is more reliable than religion for determining civic morality. It is important to note that science is a study--a process for discovering what emerges from physics, the precursor to the discovery of ethics. At any point in time science's theory may be in error. One of science's premises is that discovery and understanding, the products of its work, no matter how well a product may fit in current theories, are tentative. Thus, the god hypothesis is tentative. Science's conclusions are tentative, pending new discovery or understanding. Thus, physics is the only bedrock basis for morality.
So far, it seems clear that physics does not respond to ethics. Physics simply exists (and continues to emerge) beyond influence by humankind or any person. However, when humans rebuke physics, such as initiating violence, they change the course of events. Yet the consequences ultimately conform to physics. The traditional human construction of gods assumes beings with which persons may bargain any of discipleship for salvation; money or other asset for favor; prayer for help; worship and praise for victory in war. Humankind and each person should reform from the notion that they can influence gods: There’s too much evidence that it does not work for one reason or another.
Yet, because belief in a personal god is so useful to so many wonderful persons, I have always been reluctant to write so bluntly about my concern for respecting a god’s opinions. Until today, I was ignorant about Thomas Jefferson’s wonderful, warm approach to this challenge. An online person named Joe Diogenes quoted Thomas Jefferson[ii] for Joe’s purpose but led me to this very warm quotation:

. . . do not be frightened from this enquiry by any fear of it's consequences. if it ends in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitement to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in it's excercise, and the love of others which it will procure you. if you find reasons to believe there is a god, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, and that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement. if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy  existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a god, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love. in fine, I respect that you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject any thing because any other person, or description of persons have rejected or believed it. you own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness but uprightness of the decision.

Notice that Jefferson speaks first of “love of others” and later “hope.” Jefferson collaborates with both believers and non-believers. Perhaps his phrase "not for the rightness but uprightness of the decision" refers to correctness--conformity to physics--versus personal integrity. In the above advice, I feel beloved by Jefferson's appreciation for collaborative autonomy.

            Heretofore, I felt beloved by my living family and a few more persons and befriended by Ralph Waldo Emerson.[iii] Nevertheless, Emerson contradicts the consequence of my inquiry by using the capital “g.”

            Similarly, Jefferson states his freedom of thought in his statement, "for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."[iv] He does not capitalize “god,” but he swears on an altar to state his claim. He thereby exercises independent thought yet taints his appreciation of my view by imposing the altar into his declaration. I am forced to ignore his religion to trust Jefferson's regard for freedom of thought: But I try to avoid the imposition of force by way of his altar.

           Civic collaboration is made easier if we leave the emotions of religion and oaths and swearing out of the discussion. Use physics-based ethics to negotiate civic morality, and work to establish the achievable combination: no-harm personal liberty with civic well-being--PLwCWB.

Copyright©2015 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included, revised February 15, 2016

[1] Abraham Lincoln, letter to Albert G. Hodges, April 4, 1864. Online at

[i] Thomas Paine, "African Slavery in America," March 8, 1775. Online at , but may need to scroll down.

[ii] Letter, Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787. Online at .

[iii] Ralph Waldo Emerson, Divinity School Address, 1838. Online at .