The Nature of Creative Intelligence

The religious powers-that-be describe the qualities and characteristics of their particular deities in various ways. For example, the supreme being of Islam, Allah, and the ‘Father God’ of Christianity are loving, fair and merciful, but mete out stern justice to non-believers in the afterlife. These beliefs are a matter of faith and rely solely on ancient ideas captured in scripture written long ago.

G_d

I don’t believe in this kind of g_d, but I do believe that there is a Creative Intelligence underpinning and infusing everything. Many quantum physicists – including Einstein and Max Planck – agree. This Intelligence is certainly not a person, but a ‘presence’ or ‘principle’.

Its qualities can be inferred from science, experience and common sense. The world around us provides plenty of evidence that intelligence is at work. It has beauty, order, meaning and intent. What kind of power could produce these effects? Only a positive, bountiful and constructive life force. What would life on Earth be like if this were not so? Could we exist? How long would we survive? Could life on this planet, where everything is in perfect balance, have been created by a malevolent power? A negative life force would surely destroy its own creation.

Since Creative Intelligence is inherently good and it flows through everything, then everything must in essence be inherently good. Only human ignorance and stupidity disturb the balance of nature. Imagine if we were to disappear like the dinosaurs millions of years ago; the Earth would soon be returned to its natural state of harmony.

If humans were to raise their consciousness, rise above their destructive behaviours and work together to create a perfect world, who knows what would be possible?

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.7.18

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A life force flowing through us

In surveys, when people are asked if they believe in a Higher Power, many say they do, but when asked what they mean by this, they can’t say.

Perhaps there’s a scientific explanation. Anyone who watches a flower bloom, holds a new-born baby, gazes at the night sky or contemplates the ocean senses a life force flowing through us, an energy field of which we are all a part. But to explain why, our intellect is of little use. As Max Planck, Nobel Prize winner for physics, wrote:

‘Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.’

My logoHow can a finite being possibly understand the Infinite? Should we even try? Isn’t human intelligence too limited to encompass anything so vast? Muslims understand this completely. Allah, the creative force, is beyond description. Allah can’t be seen or heard, has no shape or form and no gender, but has always existed, will always exist and knows everything that can be known.

The creative force can’t be detected through our five senses. It can’t be seen or heard and has no smell, taste or texture. It can only be inferred through advanced mathematics and sophisticated scientific instruments.

Much of the physical world is beyond the range of human sensory parameters. Dogs can hear and smell things we can’t, eagles have much better sight, bats sense radar-like vibrations we cannot, and we know from looking into a microscope that there are infinitesimal organisms living on our skin and in our bodies which we can never see with the naked eye.

If so little of the material world falls within our sensory parameters, how much harder is it to visualise intelligence or an energy field! Take electricity. We can’t see, hear, taste or smell it, but we know it exists. We can put it to good use. Similarly, we can’t detect a creative force through our senses but we can observe the effects. When we appreciate that there is more to life than meets the eye we have taken a big step towards grasping our spiritual nature.

There is only one prevailing power in the universe, the one that set off the Big Bang and brought our universe into existence. It flows through every atom and every cell of every living thing, through our bodies, activating our minds.

There is no absence of life, potential or intelligence anywhere, fortunately, for we are dependent on it for everything, including our very existence.

©David Lawrence Preston,21.6.18

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What holds it all together?

Scientists tell us that matter is made from atoms and atoms come from waves and particles – but that the particles that make up the atoms don’t really exist! What, then, holds it all together? According to Max Planck (1885-1947), the theoretical physicist who originated Quantum Theory and who won a Nobel Prize for his work on the atom:

‘All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force… We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.’

What is this force? What is this ‘Mind’ that is the matrix of all matter? Is there really a creative intelligence from which all energy and matter originates?

The human mind is so limited we can only ever see a small part of the picture. All we can do is try to make sense of the evidence and be willing to amend our ideas when new evidence becomes available.

Mahatma Gandhi said,

‘Whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that changes a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and re-creates. That informing power or spirit is God.’

Of course, the word ‘God’ has negative associations and is very off-putting to many people. Read the words of J. Krishnamurti, a distinguished 20th Century teacher educated in both Eastern and Western traditions. He urged us not to be put off the idea of a Creative Intelligence by worrying about what we call it:

‘I am not going to use the word ‘God’. I prefer to call this Life.’

Frankly it doesn’t matter what you call it. ‘God’ is just the personification (or symbol) of this omnipotent and omnipresent power. I prefer to avoid this term. I refer to it mainly as Creative Intelligence because this conveys precisely what it is.

If there was a ‘God’, don’t you think he/she/it would find the descriptions given to it by humans laughable?

D0 you have a preference? Do you accept the notion of a Creative Intelligence, which is endorsed by many scientists, but don’t know what to call it?

Are you put off by any particular term? Why do you think that is?

Tell me what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

©David Lawrence Preston, 19.6.18

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Science and Christianity

Christianity has always had an uneasy relationship with science. Many scientific discoveries have appeared to question the very basis of this religion.

The problem for Christians is that some of the statements in the Bible are just plain WRONG. For example, at the time the Genesis creation stories were written, the Hebrews believed that the Earth at the centre of the universe, it was flat and covered by a dome above which were ‘the waters’. Occasionally the dome leaked (it rained). The sun and stars were fixed to the inside of the dome, and below the ground was the place of the dead, portrayed by the ancient Greeks as Hades.

It’s hardly worth stating that we know better now.

In the Middle Ages, scientists were harshly treated for publishing theories which were perceived to contradict Biblical teachings. Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) published an astronomical model in 1543 which had the sun at the centre of the universe and the Earth and the other planets rotating around it. He did not attract the censure of the Catholic Church at the time, but Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) was not so lucky a century later when he propounded a similar view. The church declared his findings false and contrary to scripture and forbade him to promote his theory.

Galileo later defended his views in his ‘Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems’, which angered the Pope and the Jesuits, both of whom had supported him up until this point. He was tried by the Holy Office, found guilty of heresy and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took 359 years to rectify this wrong. In 1992, Pope John Paul ll acknowledged in a speech that the Catholic Church had erred in condemning him.

For several hundred years, science and religion staged an uneasy standoff. Scientists avoided making contentious statements about religion and vice versa. Then came Charles Darwin, the author of ‘The Origin of Species’. He was declared ‘an enemy of God’ for daring to advocate a theory that refuted the church’s view of creation. Even so, he never lost his belief in a creative force behind the universe. He wrote, ‘When I wrote The Origin of Species, my faith in God was as strong as that of a bishop.’

Some pioneers of science had no difficulty seeing science and religion as compatible. Albert Einstein was viewed as a heretic by the church, yet he had a profound belief in a universal mind, spirit or creative intelligence that transcended the universe and was beyond our comprehension. He and many others, including Sir Isaac Newton and the ‘Father of Quantum Mechanics’, Max Planck, shared a sense of humility and awe at what they discovered in the natural world and gave the credit to this creative intelligence.

Nowadays the church is more comfortable with scientific research. The Catholic Church, for instance, employs ordained scientists to investigate such diverse subjects as the big bang, epigenetics and global warming, but their starting point is always the Bible teachings. They seek to fit the data to the Bible teachings, not find the best explanation that fits the data. We are without doubt gaining a greater understanding of how the material universe works, but are no nearer to understanding why the universe is as it is than were the ancient Hebrews or Greeks.

©David Lawrence Preston, 12.6.18

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Where are you at?

In his best-selling book, Further Along the Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck pointed out that we are not all at the same place in terms of our spiritual growth. He identified four ‘stages’ of growth. If you had to pick one which most accurately describes you, which would it be?

Stage One

Stage One people have little or no interest in spirituality. They appear to have few moral principles and live chaotic lives. Some, however, rise to positions of power, including some politicians, business leaders, etc.

Stage One people occasionally become painfully aware of their situation. Some rise above it and some self-destruct. Some convert to Stage Two. When this happens, it can be sudden, for example, a dramatic religious conversion.

Have you previously rejected the very idea of spirituality but are now beginning to take an interest? If so, it’s possible that you are ready to move on from Stage One.

Stage Two

State Two people look to authority and are dependent on an organisation for their governance. This could be the military, a business organisation, public institution or religious body. According to Peck, the majority of traditional religious believers fall into this category. They rely on their religion for stability and to deliver them from uncertainty.

Sooner or later some Stage Two people (often the young) question the need for an organisation with rigid structures, rituals and superstitions and begin to move to Stage Three.

Are you a person who likes conformity, respects authority and likes rules? Do you look outside yourself for leadership and control? If so, you’re probably at Stage Two.

Stage Three

These people dislike authority and feel no need to look to an organisation for direction. Some are agnostics or atheists; some are drawn to other philosophies. They are truth seekers without being religious in the usual sense of the word. They are often involved in causes working for peace and justice.

Stage Three people often regard Stage Two people as brainwashed and gullible, while Stage Two people feel threatened by them because of their lack of respect for convention.

As they develop, they begin to glimpse a bigger picture and may even begin to take an interest in some of the mythology that engages their Stage Two associates. At this point, they begin to move towards Stage Four.

Have you turned you back on organised religion yet have a sense that there must be more to life than you’re currently experiencing if only you could find it? If so, you’re probably at Stage Three.

Stage Four

Stage Four individuals believe in the underlying connectedness between all things. They are comfortable with the mystery of life and seek to explore it more deeply. They are inspired by some aspects of the great religions, but not bound to them.

At first sight, Stage Two and Stage Four people appear opposites, yet they have much in common. They may recognise the same passages of scripture, but interpret them differently.

Stage Three people are baffled by Stage Four. On the one hand, they aspire to their awareness and spirituality, while being puzzled about their interest in those old myths and legends.

Peck acknowledged that people do not always fall neatly into categories and that there is some overlap. For instance, Stage Three or Four people may turn to the church at times of celebration or stress, drawing strength and/or comfort from its rituals. They are also to be seen on religious premises when rites of passage take place – what clerics call ‘hatching, matching and dispatching’.

If you have a sense of your own spirituality and the one-ness of all things, you are probably at Stage Four.

If not – let me take you there!

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.12.2017

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Why spirituality and religion are so different

Religion and spirituality are not the same. Spirituality is not concerned with myths and fairy stories, but with life. That’s why many people are leaving the traditional religions. They cannot relate to the dogma and ritual that characterises them. They say nothing to them about life as it is lived.

To be valid, a spiritual truth must be true for everyone, everywhere and for all time. It must apply equally to people living in the Arabian Desert, the Arctic wilderness and the Himalayas; in the fifth century BCE, tenth century CE and the twenty-first CE; men, women and children, the old and the young; those who have passed on and those yet to be born.

Religions seldom satisfy these criteria. Some are even restricted to a particular race or genealogy.

A religion is a formalised set of beliefs. It lays down what its followers should accept as true and how they should behave. It insist on compliance and reproaches those who transgress. Often fear and chastisement are used to ensure conformity.

Any religion which controls, divides and excludes cannot, in my opinion, be truly spiritual.

All bone fide religions began with a search for truth, but the living message of spirituality that they purport to offer has often been lost. No doubt the founders of our great religions had the best of intentions, but in a spiritually enlightened world there would be no need for separate religions, as John Lennon said that in his song, Imagine.

Even so, the major religions have much to teach us. Their common ground far outweighs their differences. 90% of their teachings are the same; wars have been fought over the other 10%, so let’s focus on the 90%! No one creed has exclusive rights to the truth. We should look for points of agreement and put differences aside.

We should seek truth wherever we can find it and welcome the many paths that are open to us.

©David Lawrence Preston, 26.12.17

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Spirituality goes beyond appearances to ultimate reality

There are many interpretations of ‘spirituality’, and they all relate to things outside the realms of physical nature or matter. Living spiritually doesn’t  mean following a particular religion, but it does infer the understanding that the universe has some order and that the creative force behind it (whatever that may be) is intelligent and purposeful.

Spirituality is highly practical. It is about finding meaning and purpose in an apparently imperfect world then using what we learn to create happy, healthy, prosperous and fulfilling lives. It is not a special thing to be found in out-of-the-way places – it is Life itself, flowing, ever-present and abundant.

The world we detect through our five senses is not the ultimate reality. Objects that appear to be solid are not as solid as we think they are.

One of the first to understand this was the Greek philosopher, Plato. He realised that everything we perceive through our senses is merely an expression of universal ideas or ‘Forms’ – independent entities which exist whether or not we are aware of them and able to grasp them with the mind. Love, for example, exists in the universe as an idea; we only become aware of it when it enters our experience. Even then, my experience of love may be different from yours. Meanwhile, the idea of love itself remains constant, permanent and unchanging, as do other universal ideas such as wisdom, justice, honesty, beauty and so on.

For more than two thousand years, Plato’s theory was just that – a theory. Then at the beginning of the twentieth century it was verified by scientists when quantum physicists discovered a ‘substance’ or ‘energy’ out of which all physical things are formed. In other words, the universe is not solid at all. It is made of energy and shaped by information fields. And so are you!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 4.12.17

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‘Spiritual’ means ‘non-physical’

A creative intelligence flows through the universe which holds the key to living to your potential. This is not religion talking, but science, or, more specifically, quantum physics. Like the sun, it constantly emits energy. You are charged with this spiritual energy which needs only to be released for you to enjoy your life to the full.

‘Spiritual’ means ‘non-physical’. Our ideas, intelligence, imagination, sense of humour, kindness, creativity, and so on – all the qualities that make us who we are – are non-physical. We seek happiness, love, friendship and peace, and all of these are non-physical too. Our spirituality creates our world, because our lives are a reflection of whatever we hold in our minds.

‘Spirituality’ also relates to the meaning of life in all its splendour. Have you ever wondered who you are, why you’re here and where it leads? The only thing we know for sure is that we were born and one day we’re going to die. But do our lives matter? How do we fit in to the overall scheme of things?

Many philosophers have offered their views down the ages, each shedding a little light on the subject. We can learn from them all. My aim is to share some ideas that I have found to be helpful. Use those which appeal to you; the time may come when you are drawn to the others too. The Buddha offered the best advice over two thousand years ago:

‘Friends, do not be hasty to believe a thing even if everyone repeats it, or even if it is written in holy scripture or spoken by a revered teacher. Accept only those things which accord with your own reason, things which the wise and virtuous support, and which in practice bring benefit and happiness.’

How will you find out if an idea brings benefit and happiness? By applying it! Reading can take you only so far. Doing reaps incredible rewards.

Everything we need to build a happy and fulfilling experience for ourselves and become a force for good in the world already lies within us. Use it to create the kind of world you want to inhabit, one filled with peace, health, prosperity and happiness for all. No words can express how you feel once you have awakened the infinite power of Spirit within and experienced the freedom it brings. To quote Paramahansa Yogananda, a twentieth century teacher, ‘You realise that all along there was something tremendous within you, and you did not know it.’

We have within ourselves a great reservoir of wisdom, strength and peace waiting to be recognised and released. Once we are strong within ourselves, we find that outer circumstances begin to mirror the inner, and life starts to change for the better.

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.11.17

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He Never Came Back (Even Though He Promised)

Social media recently reported that a Roman Catholic Cardinal, Georgio Salvadore, has stated that it looks as if Jesus Christ is not coming back, thus refuting a core Christian doctrine that lasted for nearly two thousand years. The cardinal is said to have then astounded his audience by claiming that when Jesus promised to return he must have been drunk!

Christians at first were upon in arms and later relaxed when the word spread it was a hoax. Apparently there is no such person as Cardinal Georgio Salvadore.

Even so, the fictional  Cardinal was touching on a raw nerve. The Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke, originally written between 70 CE and 85 CE) make it perfectly clear that their prophet, known as Yeshua in his lifetime, promised many times before his death that he would return at Father God’s instigation to establish the kingdom of God on Earth, and he would do so within a generation.

If you doubt this, take a look at Mark 9:1: ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come with power.’ If that doesn’t convinced you, Mark 1:15 reports him as saying ‘The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’

He reaffirmed it in his Last Supper speech, telling his disciples, ‘I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it with you in my Father’s kingdom’ (Matthew 26:29). He didn’t mean a kingdom somewhere else and in the far distant future, but right here on Earth within the lifetime of those present.

By the time the Fourth Gospel was written around the turn of the 1st century, it was already clear that Yeshua’s prophetic words had been empty. Christians were embarrassed and widely mocked. He had not returned, and far from God establishing a kingdom for the Jews, the Jerusalem Temple had been destroyed by the Romans along with the rest of the city. Jews who survived had scattered in fear of their lives. That’s why the Fourth Gospel hardly mentions the supposed return.

It’s also why the last book of the New Testament to be written, the Second Letter attributed to (but not actually written by) Peter, felt the need to make excuses for the uncomfortable fact that the kingdom promised by Yeshua nearly a century earlier had still not materialised. ‘Do not ignore this one fact, beloved,’ it pleads, ‘that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.’ (2 Peter 3:8)

Why doesn’t the church have more to say about this part of Yeshua’s message? Is it because they worry that bringing it to people’s attention would make a vital part of his core teachings irrelevant in our time? After all, he was wrong. The world was not transformed within the lifetime of his disciples. God did not appear, and neither did he. And he probably never will.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.11.17

 

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Archbishop Bemoans the Absence of God

Following recent announcements by the Pope that seem to overturn the Catholic Church’s longstanding teachings on women priests, the literal truth of the Bible and homosexuality, the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Anglican Church, has weighed in with an interesting comment of his own: the recent terrorist attacks on Paris made him doubt the presence of G_d!

This is extraordinary particularly since progressive Christianity appeared to be moving away from the nonsensical notion of an bearded old man looking down from above to a ‘Presence’, an ‘Intelligence’ that is ever-present, all- powerful and all-knowing, not a person but an energy and information field not unlike the concept of the Zero Point Field of quantum physics.

The ancient Hebrews believed there were many gods but theirs, YHWH, could be located in a portable tent (yes, really!!) or later an inner room in the Jerusalem Temple. They were YHWH’s chosen people, showered with benefits when the observed his/its laws and subjected to punishments verging on the vindictive when they did not.

The G_d of the New Testament was portrayed as the ‘Father Within’ who could be both a source of inspiration and comfort, but also a harsh judge and exterminator.

So, Archbishop, which G_d are you referring to? Is yours a G_d that happily withdraws from the world allows untold suffering to ensue? One must assume so. An ever-present, all-powerful and all-knowing Intelligence would be, well, ever-present, all-powerful and all-knowing!

The question of how an all-powerful, loving G_d could create a world of such suffering, misery and disease is one of the great contradictions in Christianity. Theologians conclude that it is because G_d allows humans to make our own choices, but if we choose unwisely we must suffer the consequences. This is the doctrine of free which is supposed to explain away most of the tragedy and hardship in the world.

But it doesn’t. Did those people in that Parisian theatre choose to be brutally slaughtered by these medieval butchers, any more than the passengers on that Russian airliner or London bus, the occupants of the Twin Towers and those unfortunates beheaded by sadistic scum in the Syrian desert?

I think not. But one thing I do know – the faith represented by Archbishops and Popes is built on shaky foundations and has a lot more explaining to do!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 22.10.2017

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