Where did God go?

The Source is a novel by James A. Michener. It is actually a fun novel to read if you have any interest in the history of the middle east.

One of the themes in the novel is the relationship between god and humans. In the earlier part of the history described in this book, god has an intimate relationship with humans, and often manifests as a burning bush in order to speak with specific humans that god might be interested in. But over time the humans get less interesting and god gets into other things, and the whole burning bush thing becomes less and less frequent and eventually, there are no more burning bushes and there is no other contact with god. What is left behind is a belief in god but god is pretty much out of the picture.

Now, we have a new documentary on line that re-explains this model for the god-human interaction thing in modern philosophical terms. Grrrrrrrl Scccccienist has it posted on her blog, here. Please go have a look. You will love it.

Go look at that, then come back and watch this other very insightful video:

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    May 30, 2009

    Even as a teenager, I pegged The Source‘s last few chapters as flamingly biased Zionist propaganda. The earlier parts were pretty good, though.

    I look forward eagerly to Edward Current’s epic historical novels…

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    May 30, 2009

    Well, yes. Together with the other famous popular novel The Haj (Uri) you’ve got the whole thing in in a package. Good point.

  3. #3 Art
    May 30, 2009

    Probably old hat to learned people but Karen Armstrong’s book “A History of God” has a nice discussion of how the God-man relationship changes over the course of the Biblical narrative. How at first it is very much a personal thing with God popping up rather casually to visit. How over time the reported manifestation becomes more ponderous. To the point where the presence and voice are overwhelming and destructive.

    Another related book might be Julian Jane’s “Origin of Consciousness”. He postulates that the experience of God may have to do with the structure of the primitive brain. A structure where the right and left hemispheres were far less integrated. Where the output of the right brain might be experienced by the left brain as coming from outside the person. As an ever present and all knowing presence that judges and commands.

    That the reason the people thousands of years ago experienced God so clearly and readily, whereas we do not, and why there is such an obvious shift in the God-man experience over time has to do with the evolution of our brains and the widening of the neural pathways connecting the left and right hemispheres.

    A bit over the top as science he mostly speculates and riffs but he does provide some supporting evidence from both person who have had their hemispheres segregated, who experience their right brains as external, and from historic writing recounting how people seem to have experienced God in ways that parallel those with segregated hemispheres.

    It occurs to me, I’m not sure if it was touched upon in Jane’s Book, that perhaps the reason women were often excluded as prophets and seen as unsuitable as priests might have to do with women naturally having a greater degree of Left-right brain integration. Once the two sides are sufficiently integrated you no longer experience your right brain as foreign. You stop experiencing the arbitrary, judgmental and commanding voice that comes from all around because it is inside your head. God no longer ‘talks to you’.

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