God Is Black — He Told Me So

All black

God is black.

If you read translated source material that theological beliefs are built on, or read theologically foundational, authoritative writings like those of early Christianity’s so-called “Church Fathers”, or Augustine, Aquinas, Pseudo-Dionysius, etc., you’ll see that “God is black” is no more incredible or baseless than so very many of the statements made about God over the centuries: cryptic, ambiguous, unsubstantiated, and intentionally so.

(Although I picked on Christian writers here, since I’m more familiar with them, I haven’t seen a significant difference in this respect in the Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, or Taoist writings I’ve read, either.)

Assertion is not actuality. Cryptic, ambiguous, and unsubstantiated claims made in authoritative tones implicitly (almost automatically and imperceptibly) create occult spaces in which people can perform all kinds of quite persuasive conceptual alchemy that serves as the basis for further occult claims.

I’m not implying that occult spaces are necessarily bad things. Cryptic, ambiguous, and unsubstantiated realms of fancy are the stuff of mystery, love, paradox, and the curiosity that incites learning. The occult can frustrate our obsessions, wrench us out of our ruts, and open our minds.

Problems don’t result simply from creating occult spaces and working in them and from them, but problems do result by making claims about the evident world on the basis of privileged knowledge derived from occult roots. The occultic nature of the situation becomes suspicious when the roots of beliefs remain perpetually obscure, especially if persistent obscurity becomes a feature that we accept as justified or even necessary. “Oh, of course it’s a mystery, and it always will be!” Pardon me, but how do you know that? You don’t. You couldn’t possibly.

When we make no attempt to find out if occult obscurity makes some sense and isn’t just the result of deliberate obfuscation, our acceptance of mystery becomes indistinguishable from the blind belief of cultism. And when the proponents of occult beliefs invest in promoting and defending chronic obscurity — like much New Age thinking tries to do by continually undermining the value of thought, reason, and language, as if the only genuine knowledge possible were the unthinkable and inexpressible — we can be quite sure that their game is deliberate obfuscation, also known as obscurantism.

As one ancient writer put it, there are those “… who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness … But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Real revelation leads to decreasing obscurity: mystery revealed, not institutionalized and petrified as the basis for “enlightened” life. There will always be a horizon and an obscurity that lies beyond it; but if it’s always the same horizon and the obscurity beyond never gets clearer, you’re stuck on an island in a vast, black, occult sea, essentially imprisoned in unchanging, terminal ignorance.

Having gotten us into that position, those who pretend privileged, occult “knowledge” can “prove” whatever the fuck they want, even though it’s all based on ideas no more substantial or well-founded than “God is black.”

God is black? God is love? God is to be feared? Says who? And how did they find out? And who or what informed them? Maybe their sources were others who rested their thinking on “divine revelation” originating from the unknown and unknowable. Or maybe their sources’ sources’ did. Or maybe it’s just an elaborate charade of experts citing experts citing experts who cited someone who just made it all up. How did any of them know? Usually, they don’t say. They just sound so convincingly, backed up by so many other convincing experts, that we find ourselves believing them — especially if thousands or millions of others do, too.

It’s really hard to discover the historical facts that might disclose whether a belief results from an overly complicated round-robin of mutual delusion or from sound thinking based on reliable evidence, but fortunately there are easy, simple ways to distinguish real revelation from bullshit, regardless of its supposed source or the claims it makes.

(If “revelation” is an uncomfortable concept, remember Newton’s apple and the fact that scientists have epiphanies and Eureka! moments, too — and many of them were wrong, even delusively so. Earth isn’t flat and the sun doesn’t revolve around it. Knowledge progress, especially revolutionary progress, is strongly epiphanic, no matter what kind of knowledge it is. Science doesn’t distinguish itself by lack of epiphanic revelation, but by the fact that scientists don’t stop thinking once their epiphanies occur. πŸ™‚ )

  1. Real revelation happens in space-time. Recipients can tell you what was going on at the time, where they were, the time of day, what happened, and especially what the revelation and the experience of receiving it felt like. Always suspect someone who can’t or won’t say how it felt. Bullshitters rarely take the effort to embellish their crap with the kinds of experiential detail that come easily and naturally to people who actually experienced them, and few who embellish manage to stay consistent over time. Skyhooked theory is just theory until testing grounds it. Experiential details don’t help us distinguish revelation from delusion, but lack of convincing experiential details can usually separate bullshit from honest description of genuine experiences.
  2. Real revelation primarily applies to the recipient of the revelation. Revelation comes because recipients were so engrossed in a matter that they become ripe to receive insight, having long been in personal need of it. If the first thing a recipient does is turn the revelation around onto others as if it primarily applies to them, you know he’s full of shit. The foremost interest of a sincere recipient of revelation is what it means for him and what he can do with it — not what it means for others and what he can get them to do by means of it.

    A knowing, powerful revelator (God, Source, “Higher Self”, the Universe itself, or otherwise) is perfectly capable of communicating directly with its intended audience without needing middlemen. Prophets of old were sent to people who were stubborn and hard of hearing, implying that plenty of direct one-on-one attempts had already been made. If a revelation applies to others beside the recipient, its authority rests on the fact that either they already know it’s true and need reminding and motivating, or that they can verify that it’s true independently and should do so before accepting it, just like the recipient should have done.
  3. The authority of a real revelation lies in its truth, not in the mere fact it occurred — no matter how spectacularly — because delusions can occur in just the same way. As soon as someone uses the supposed “fact” that they heard from God as the reason you should believe that they heard from God, you know they’re full of shit. And illogical, too.
  4. Real revelation can and should be tested. It can be an earth-shaking epiphany or a growing realization that gains serious credibility over time, but only a fool would accept it as truth just because it made an impression and made eminent sense initially. Brain farts can be quite impressive and make all kinds of sense for awhile, too. Expecting you to accept a revelation’s truth simply because it seemed true at the time and packed a punch is expecting you to be as much of a fool as the one delivering it is.

God might be black. God might be green. God might have no color at all. God might not even be there. None of that is certain, but this is certain: No one else has a right to tell you what you should decide for yourself. And if they do, you know by virtue of that simple fact that they aren’t speaking for God. Otherwise they’d know better than to tell you what to believe when God is well able to tell you himself.

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About Millard J. Melnyk

Motley past, promising future exploring an open, potent understanding of mutuality, individual dignity and personal power through trust. DEAUTHORITARIANIZE EVERYTHING!
This entry was posted in Authoritarianism, Bible, Freedom, God, Religion, Science, Spirituality, Truth & Rumors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to God Is Black — He Told Me So

  1. Cuc says:

    There is this interesting question whether our experience can be trusted to defend or keep a belief (conclusion).

    At first, it seems that we can’t know everything, and if we don’t, then maybe there is something we should take into account that would negate what we believe. Certain experiences may contradict what we believe. Whether we admit to it or not, our beliefs will cause a confirmation bias.

    But if we can’t trust our experience, then what is left? Ultimately, when we decide to act on the basis of what we believe, we’d better have verified the evidence we base our decision on. Again, we are going to trust our experience in this matter.

    I have no final answer to this yet.

    So, if there is a God, maybe he is or maybe he isn’t able to communicate with you. But if there isn’t a God, any and all perceived communication must be imagined . . . (even if it appears to be God to communicate with you).

    • Hey Cuc, thanks for the comments! I like the clear way you’re thinking it through.

      Beliefs at most and at best are provisional. Conclusions-for-now. If we refuse to revise them given new information, we lapse into delusion. So, since there’s always more information to be had, healthy beliefs must remain changeable, adaptable, living and active, otherwise they stagnate, die, and petrify. I think you see this well.

      We learned an authoritarian understanding of belief. Authoritarians are primarily concerned with exerting control and if necessary force to prevent undesirable experience. That’s why they’re so interested in “final”, irrefutable conclusions that they can foist on others and the Earth itself. This has the effect of closing minds rather than opening them. For authoritarians, answering questions should reduce outstanding question overall, and eventually knowledge will eliminate questioning to a large degree, because we’ll “know”. That’s a terribly frustrating proposition, because in fact (obviously so) every answer just generates new questions. That’s the nature of learning. So, authoritarian belief implicitly aims at ultimately ending the need to learn and develop.

      On the other hand, if we want to learn, engage openly with life, and experience it and each other in ways that encourage curiosity, creativity, exploration, and growth in ways consistent with our interconnectedness and the mutual care we call “love”, we must necessarily trust. Trust is not the chink in the armor that authoritarians think — it’s the way to the kind of life where armor becomes unnecessary.

      So, if “a final answer” represents a final escape from trust, I think it’s a bad idea in just the same way that an attempt to come to a final answer about another person’s love for you would be. The more you did to make sure that they loved you, the more you would violate the trust underlying both the relationship and their love. We are wired relationally, so all of our questions boil down to relationship questions: relationships with ourselves and with everyone and everything around us. Eliminate trust from a relationship and you end up with force, control, and abuse. Many people experience much of life in those terms, both giving and getting. I think the only way to rectify that is to find ways of reclaiming trust after it has been damaged. Much of human thought and history has been an attempt to escape from trust and live without it. We can see what that results in. We’ve also seen how trust enables love and life. What we’ve yet to see much of is the kind of trust that asserts itself after having been damaged. Very few people seem familiar with it or even aware that it’s possible.

    • PS. Regarding your last statement about God, we might also misinterpret his communication, just like we do people and life itself. And we might imagine it like you say. But what if we’re hearing neither God as we conceive him to be nor imaginary stuff? What if we’re hearing/seeing real information from real sources, but we’re just misunderstanding the nature of the sources? And even if we imagine it, what prompts such consistent imaginations all over the world for thousands of years across people in distant places who couldn’t communicate with each other? For all their differences, the basic themes of all religions are amazingly similar. Surely, real factors are involved in some way. Understanding them involves more than merely saying what they are *not*, and not jiving with a possibly mistaken concept of God doesn’t mean that we should discount or ignore them as mere imagination. What if mistaking our imaginations as being a real God enables us to live more fulfilling, beneficial, successful lives? Would eliminating that notion of God because “it’s just imaginary” be a better idea? Lots of possibilities… πŸ™‚

  2. lilisoleil says:

    This is in response to your post about cult thinking. (I couldn’t post it there)
    Well, I wasn’t ever in a cult, but I have been in a lifetime of abusive relationships including my marriage. I think your article is extremely interesting and well-written and well-argued. Right now I’d say it describes the Donald Trump phenomenon much better than anything else I’ve read or seen or thought. I’ve thought a lot about things in the 8 yrs since my marriage became such a living nightmare that I finally had to flee to survive at all. I wondered why time and again my relationships were abusive, even after I deliberately married a “nice” guy I didn’t love so that I wouldn’t end up in an abusive relationship.
    You have described the psychopathic person in a way that makes me understand things much better. It makes me understand the whole conservative, right-wing faction better.
    You’ve also given me some food for thought when you added that psychopaths can be helped and healed. It makes me think of Swedenborg’s teachings about the remnants that all people have:
    “A remnant, or rather the Lord working by means of a remnant, is what allows a person to seem human, to learn what is good and true, to reflect on particular instances of it, and so to think and reason. This remnant alone has spiritual and heavenly life in it”.β€”Secrets of Heaven Β§560
    I believe I’ve had codependent issues which stem from my mother’s narcissism and emotional coldness toward me. I’m staying out of relationships for the time being and working on my own healing.
    I find your ideas about the adversarial world and the issues of safety really thought-provoking. I shared your post to fb and I’ll follow you here. Not sure whether you’re still writing this blog. Cheers ! πŸ™‚
    Lily F.

    • Lily, thank your for your kind and thoughtful comments! Sorry for your experience. I think many of us have stories of codependency and abuse to tell. In fact, our culture trains us to be codependent. You have to consciously, deliberately work against the tendency to avoid it. Not at all easy when blaming others for how “they made us feel” is as common as sewage and way more noxious.

      Thanks for mentioning Swedenborg. I should get more familiar with him. When I come across things he’s said, I like them. πŸ™‚

      I haven’t been working on this particular blog lately. Another one also, http://millardjmelnyk.wordpress.com, has fallen into disuse — but I’m still pleased with the material I’ve posted here and there. One day I’ll rework them into something more like a book.

      More recently, I put up one that amalgamates my secular and spiritual perspectives and takes the next step. Think of it as revolutionary spirituality that means business: ReLOVEution. Not just foo-foo feel-good, but change the world materially, essentially, practically, in every way — that kind of spirituality. The kind I think Jesus had in mind. Check it out if you’re interested! πŸ™‚ https://reloveutionnow.wordpress.com

      I’m in the same boat as you regarding relationships. They’re a frightening lot of work at best, and almost no one knows how to do them very well. I love my friends and family and people in general, but I don’t find many people who want relationships for the sake of together making things better. Most seem to hope that someone else can make them better. Haha, nah. Happiness and a thriving life can’t be found from that direction.

      Please friend me on Facebook if you haven’t. I spend most of the time I devote to this kind of thing there (which lately hasn’t been a whole lot — practical matters have been abducting my attention — but I’m slowly coming back to it…) Here’s the link to my page: https://www.facebook.com/millard.j.melnyk. We get in some lively and sometimes heated discussions on things I post there.

      Take care. There’s lots of hope for the future. You can believe that, because it’s coming from someone who knows deeply how it feels to have none. And lived.

    • PS. I found your page http://www.lilysoleil.com/ via your WordPress profile and tried to leave a comment there, but got an error and it didn’t seem to stick. I related to what you wrote in the first post, about personal and social freedom and spirituality. I also relate to getting awakened by my kids as I raised them. (I only wish I could have homeschooled them, but 6 boys as a single dad working full-time… Still…) To this day I wish I’d had more confidence in my sons and had trusted them more. Kids get that it’s all about love. How did we as parents get distracted with all those other concerns?

      Anyway, I hope we get acquainted int the days to come. Take care Chicago!

      From sunny (occasionally) Seattle. πŸ™‚

  3. lilisoleil says:

    Thank you for your really nice responses. I will friend you on fb. I already looked at your facebook page yesterday so I know about your politico social position I went into the back end of my lilysoleil and tried to update it so that I can still receive comments on my posts. I quit writing on that blog a few years ago. In fact, I haven’t done much writing in the past few years at all. Mostly film studies, reading philosophy (currently Hegel Philosophy of History), and just learning and thinking and stuff. And full-time job plus still raising my kids. I still have a high-schooler.
    I’d be happy to be friends as I really like your creative writing style and your way of expressing yourself. Your thinking is original which I like very much as well.
    My niece went to school in Seattle at Seattle Christian University. I have some cousins there also. I visited with my sisters about 8 years ago and really loved it. My daughter is in Portland at Lewis and Clark College so I’ve been out there also. The ocean is so beautiful as are the old-growth forests. When I returned to Chicago after visiting my daughter, it really took me a while to readjust to how ugly and overpopulated and fast-paced it is here in comparison.
    But usually I don’t see Chicago that way… mostly it’s home and it’s great.
    πŸ™‚ Lily

    • Haha, I hear ya. Home is where the heart is, and the heart can find beauty everywhere. I look forward to “meeting” you on Facebook! πŸ™‚

    • PS. Hegel! Heavy duty reading! I read a bit of him in college, decided I didn’t like the adversariality of the dialectic (as true as it is, it’s only true under certain conditions, and he pretended that they were the only conditions possible) and haven’t touched him since. Then I read Kierkegard, whom I love, and he left me with that bitter Hegelian taste in my mouth, lol. The thing that struck me about Hegel was that he didn’t write like a philosopher, not the kind of philosophy that reigned supreme in American universities in the 70s, anyway. He wrote like a prophet. Really struck me. My profs expected me to back up everything I said with argument, evidence, and authoritative references. Hegel got away with saying the most outlandish things ipse dixit. I was struck with envy. πŸ˜‰

      • lilisoleil says:

        Interesting. I guess you mean thesis antithesis synthesis.
        Regarding Hegel, what I’m finding extremely enjoyable is his knowledge of geography and history and his unique descriptions of the various races, political structures, and sociologies. I find his perspective original and very interesting. Not to mention, I’ve been thinking for a long time about the big evolutionary picture and of course, his philosophy of history is a theory of universal spiritual evolution toward harmony by way of adversity and reconciliation. I see a lot of truth there.
        In college I was obsessed with JP Sartre, later with Simone deBeauvoir, more recently I really was interested in Michel Foucault. I also like Simone Weil a lot. ~~ Notice they are all French πŸ™‚
        Kierkegard; I couldn’t say I know much if anything about his ideas.
        Where did you go to college? I went to University of Utah, but I had no confidence in myself, lacked any good foundation, and lacked any guidance from my parents or adults. I soon became very lost. I never connected well with my education, which probably contributed to my decision to homeschool my kids.
        Well, I requested your fb friendship, so I if you wish to keep chatting, you can message me there if you like.
        Lily

        • lilisoleil says:

          p.s. I had skimmed over the part about 6 boys and single dad. Good Lord !! I have 2 boys & 2 girls and although their dad exists…. well I’ll spare you the grievances… it’s mostly in the past. My youngest just turned 17, and he’s pretty self-sufficient now

          • Haha, yeah, the Good Lord needed to help out a lot! I turned grey and lost most of my hair, but we never went hungry or homeless (well, except for that couple of weeks I Pricelined a hotel room while looking for an apartment. The guys went to their mom’s but my youngest wanted to be with me. It had a pool, after all. πŸ˜‰

          • OK, Facebook msg sent. Tag, you’re it.

        • Thanks Lily! Yes, thesis/antithesis/synthesis is the dialectic. True enough when adversariality is a factor. Hegel never considered whether it need be a factor, though. He just assumed it like gravity, just part and parcel of the way things are. But that’s not necessarily so. Hegel was K’s primary punching bag, and I love him for being what I consider the most heartfelt philosopher I’ve read (Teilhard de Chardin and a few others with a more spiritual bent rival him), but instead of questioning adversariality, K opted for it, writing “Either/Or”, one of his more famous works.

          I simply don’t take adversariality for granted, and I reject the notion that it’s necessary or essential. Before there was fighting, there was friendship. Not only that, but the motivation for fighting is either frustrated desire for friendship or the malicious abandon left after all hope of friendship has died. Either way, friendship is the standard and the fulcrum. Fighting is always a reaction to past violation, often by others, not the ones we’re fighting against. And I reject the cynicism that claims thus shall it always be. Rubbish. Cynics aren’t smart enough to believe the hope they can see, so they’re certainly not smart enough to know there will never be any in the future, where they absolutely cannot see.

          I went to a total of four colleges in Southern California and one in Seattle, which is the only place I finished a degree — an Associate degree in Data Processing, lol. We sound alike in that regard: no confidence in myself, lacked any good foundation, and lacked any guidance from my parents/elders. Those were major factors in my turning to God and faith. In those days I hated religion, and always have, even though I ended up being more religious than most — go figure.

          OK, cya on Facebook! πŸ™‚

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