A Catholic seminary student once asked me to explain Buddhism (which would be considered pantheistic) to him "in a nutshell". I responded with a series of questions to which I would provide answers in order to lead him down a logical path to the Buddhist "conclusion". The question/answer series went like this:

Question: Where was the universe before God created it?

Answer: The universe "existed" as a potential of God.

Question: When God destroys the universe does he also destroy time?

Answer: Of course -- without subject object relationships time cannot exist.

Question: Is God eternal?

Answer: Yes, by definition.

Question: Does God's potential to create the universe also eternally exist within God?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Then doesn't it logically follow that the "moment" God destroys the universe that he must also re-create it (since in the "interim" time does not exist)?

Answer: Yes, I suppose so...but what are you getting at...?

Question: Wouldn't you agree then that for the purposes of man's existence, the universe is eternal?

Answer: Well, if you put it that way...I suppose so...

Question: And that God could therefore be interpreted as the unchanging eternal law regulating all the change around us?

Answer: I suppose you do, so yes...

Question: And that you are a manifestation of that law?

Answer: You could say that.

Question: As a manifestation of this law, then, could you accept that maybe the most responsible and direct way for you to know God would be to, as the ancient philosopher said,” Know Thyself!" ?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Then would a practice which does not personify God, but which does hold remarkable promise in terms of knowing thyself be considered a path to know God?

Answer: Well...yes and no...as a Theist I have to balk...how can one find God and deny God at the same time?...hmmmm. Well...yes and no...even Atheist would balk at this,...how can you deny God and yet find value in something one interprets as God at the same time?...hmmmm.

Question: Can we at least agree that the issue of creation doesn't really matter either way?

Answer: Well from the perspective of God's eternal nature and man's total powerlessness to define what God may and may not do, then yes, we can agree.

Conclusion: Good, then let’s pursue the scientific truth the best we can...trying not to allow any philosophical or religious bias to skew our results.

SGI Buddhist, Loves Irish and Latin American Literature, History buff, knows a great deal about Medicare

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