Re: Extropianism & Theology
Thu, 25 Feb 1999 18:55:34 EST


Thank you for your compliment. I would like to comment on a few of your points.
1) The overemphasis of power and the gradual ascent- I agree that there has been a tendency to overplay this attribute. When examining the question of worship, I asked what were the bare essentials necessary for me to feel a sense of awe and devotion toward another being. I came up with the idea that the important thing would be a being who is the embodiment of my most cherished ideal/ideals. This does not have to be a powerful being (unless you cherish power). I could imagine such a being which would resemble the ideal of the saint or buddha; an enlightened consciousness which could serve as an example to all. Having said this, however, I find it difficult to imagine a flawless exemplar of virtue (however you care to define virtue) without imaginining this person having some fair amount of power. How can such a being be certain in their application of these principles without perfect knowledge. And if one did have such perfect understanding, wouldn't one wish to avoid error through a lack of perfect execution. And what would be the minimum amount of perfect (or near perfect) skill that this being would require to be ready for any situation. You could almost say that any being which reached such a pinnacle of enlightenment would be morally obligated to seek as much power as possible to avoid accidents of ineptitute. I suggest this as an example of the slippery slope to associating Power with Godhood, or maybe that should be the gradual ascent to Power.

2) Unsolicited Worship - I definitely see the point of feeling little obligation toward unsought and undesired worship. Yet, if you were a true Power, it might take very little to aid such worshippers, thus only a fractional amount of noblisse oblige might at first be enough to sustain an entire religion at first. But as your afterthought aid greatly improves the worshippers lot, they begin to pay attention to more difficult problems, ones they may have been at first unaware of or have accepted as unalterable, such as death. A Power could inadvertantly trigger the Uplifting of an entire people. You could say that this act is more than enough, and that the worshippers should be greatful for that much and do the rest on their own. This may be fine, but what if what your aid has in some way led them down an evolutionary deadend, and the only way they can see out is with help. Do you turn your metaphorical back on these people, who might not have had this problem without worshipping you? Or do you continue to help them, guiding them to a point where they no longer need you? There are two basic approaches that come to mind to deal with this problem, one is the hands off approach
(dare I make a comparison to the Star Trek Prime Directive....argh!), the
other to take up the mantle of Godhood until you can help your worshippers to maturity and kick them out of the nest (kind of like a good parent).

3) The Universe as a Growing God - I'll have to save this one for later.

Glen Finney