Thursday, February 22, 2007


I’m just listening to a lecture series on Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalists that ties into the last post about Plato and the concept of forms.

I admire Emerson and Thoreau and the Unitarians in general, because for me they mark a stepping stone away from traditional Christianity in the direction of a more naturalistic interpretation of the world. A step in the direction of materialism, though they would vehemently deny it.

The Transcendentalists argue, as I gather from these lectures, that there is something that transcends nature and matter, but that spiritual force is to be found within nature itself. Influenced by eastern spiritualism, they denied a distance between humanity and God, and insisted that God is within us and around us in nature and can be experienced directly by man without need of an intermediary such as a priest or church.

From there it’s just a skip and hop and you’re saying that we and nature are God, pure and simple. This dangerous idea was rejected by mainstream religion of the day as Deism, the doctrine that we cannot know God, or even atheism, the notion that there is no supernatural God.

I’ll be arguing in this blog that what we call God is just code for natural phenomena, for a nexus of concepts and symbols referring to humanity and its relationship to the natural world.

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