Thursday, January 7, 2010

On the Nature of the Holy Spirit

I once had a discussion with a Franciscan priest who had been part of ecumenical activities of the RC church. In a nutshell: he had "co-prayed" with Buddhists.

At one point, I brought up my idea that the "Big Self" of Buddhism could be equated with the Holy Spirit. His eyes got very wide, then he changed the subject.

At the time, I had this idea of God being "a force"...not quite like "the Force" of the Star Wars Jedi, but "something out there".

But "force" is a part of the Universe -- the expenditure of energy (part of the Universe). And matter is part of the Universe, too, as well as space and time itself.

So we know what God isn't -- he is outside of His Creation, something that we can't even begin to fathom.

Meanwhile, some physicists think consciousness itself may be more fundamental to the Universe than we think.

And we have an idea in Eastern theology of "monism", vs. the (mostly) "dualism" of Western religions. Buddhism, for instance, is older that Christianity, and has this. Monism is the idea that all sentient beings are part of God.

The doctrine of an Eternal God the Creator also being part of some aspects of His Creation is a very appealing one, and I think Christianity neatly synthesized those monistic elements into a doctrine of "God-the-Father"+"God-the-Holy-Spirit" being God, period. The contemporary doctrine being dualism, I think this is as close to monism as they could get w/out being laughed out of the public square -- or worse.

(Remember, dear trinitarians: it wasn't until over 300 years after Jesus' birth that His divinity was canonized.)

So I refer to the Holy Spirit as "that Divine Spark in all of us" -- something fundamentally part of our consciousness, particularly our conscience. But that's just pretty language -- a "spark" is still more energy, and the Holy Spirit isn't energy, being part of God.

Instead, I see the Holy Spirit as being something very fundamental to the very fabric of the Universe, and that part of us that gives rise to free will with a guiding, God-given Conscience.

I think we can agree that the human part of Jesus was a man of great Conscience, filled with the Holy Spirit -- and he was crucified because of it.

Michael Servetus was also such a man of Conscience. He, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit -- and they burned him as a heretic.

Then there are the people in the world who do evil...even in God's name. They've lost touch with the Holy Spirit (or never listened to Him to begin with) leaving them utterly without moral compass.

And finally: some denominations depend on certain behaviors -- such as glossolalia -- as "proof" of being caught up with the Holy Spirit. Folks of this persuasion might be interested in the book "Battle for the Mind":

Scott Doty


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