I should make a new category for atheism
by Andrea Elizabeth
Just caught a rerun of this new-to-me series on consciousness on pbs this morning. I guess consciousness is a key issue in the debate on the origins of the universe. One thing Orthodoxy does is it makes you doubt more your own perceptions of things, making it easier to understand some of the atheist arguments. What I like about atheism is that it presents a humble view of what a person on their own can know about God. Yet I also believe in revelation that is available in the Church. And I believe that individuals outside the Church can experience God and his love. But even they still can’t say who God is in Trinity, nor even what to do next on their own.
To shift a bit, an emphasis on consciousness is discriminatory to me. What about unconscious people, where are they in this scheme? Or the mentally ill (of which all sinners are to some degree)? Not to mention plants and minerals, and animals, to some people’s minds. I was thinking yesterday that it would be wrong to plant a tree that you are going to neglect so that it dies. And what some do with rocks can be a misuse of God’s creation.
So if consciousness is not the end all be all of a limited existence – maybe it is in a limitless one – what do we do with it? Perhaps consciousness can be compared to the nous. Orthodoxy teaches that we are to train it on Christ through the Jesus Prayer. Thus we are to receive more revelation of ourselves, the universe, and God. To infinity and beyond, as it were. A Hindu was talking about this when I first caught today’s rerun (can’t find the specific episode, but the above links to lots of interesting topics. Listening to this one now.). I don’t know how much in common Hindu transcendence has with Orthodox teaching, but I think Orthodoxy doesn’t sound so gnostic. I don’t see how Hindu teachings of the consciousness of all atoms jives with their great void at the end of enlightenment.