Mythos and Logos: Armstrong v Dawkins (v Swedenborg)

The other day a post on “The Hannibal Blog” caught my eye. It was entitled “Mythos and Logos: Armstrong v Dawkins.” I knew that Richard Dawkins is considered the most famous atheist but Karen Armstrong, a religious scholar, only recently has come to my attention.

Armstrong has written a new book entitled The Case For God.  I am sure it will become a bestseller (like her previous books). Armstrong’s inevitable success excites me because I have a similar book coming out in Spring 2010 entitled Proving God. Not only will Armstrong’s sales numbers convince the book industry that this is a big and important genre but her ideas that science and faith should be complementary rather than in conflict is the exact same goal of my book.

The recent post on The Hannibal Blog addressed an interview between Karen Armstrong and Richard Dawkins with The Wall Street Journal. Each was asked, “Where does evolution leave God?”

Dawkins never pulls punches, saying that evolution “leaves [God] with nothing to do, and no achievements that might attract our praise, our worship or our fear. Evolution is God’s redundancy notice, his pink slip.”

Armstrong counters that evolution only deals a blow to fundamentalist Christians and the concept of a benign creator if we merely understand God only from the literal meaning of sacred texts. Her research has convinced her that past cultures embraced two paths of finding truth – called mythos and logos. Loosely interpreted, logos deals with worldly knowledge and mythos with knowledge of oneself. Sacred texts deal with mythos and do not have the potency of their message based on historical accuracy (the message is timeless and always relevant). Armstrong believes that such texts and stories represented an early form of psychology.

My upcoming book, Proving God brings the ideas of scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg into the debate over mythos and logos, or better yet, between science and religion. Richard Dawkins fails to see evolution as a spiritual process and that human beings are uniquely adapted to take the trajectory of evolution into a non-physical realm. The human mind and its ideas operate beyond the constraints of the physical world and can find ontological coherent structure (higher-order complexity) based on one’s life-choices and values (something that God places all His focus on).

Religion is God’s strategy for the human race to take evolution and the biosphere into a non-physical realm (called heaven). So Armstrong is right in her assumption that mythos and sacred texts address human psychology but she does not go far enough or deep enough. Proving God starts where The Case For God leaves off.

Venus with a horn – Laussel

Venus with a horn – Laussel

As an example, both our books make mention of the symbolic powers of a Neolithic sculpture of a pregnant woman (called a Venus figurine) holding a carved bison’s horn over her right shoulder with one arm, and, her bulging belly with the other. Armstrong suggests that this carving could be symbolic of the endless and inexhaustible process of the creation of new life in defiance of death and entropy.

But the symbolism goes deeper.

The “Venus” statue also represents a psycho-spiritual process—the “re-birth” of a new spiritual life that can only take place in the human heart and mind. Deeper still, the Palaeolithic sculpture symbolizes the Lord’s coming into the world by means of a woman. The Lord’s advent was anticipated by many ancient cultures since the fall of man.

Another example is Chapter Five of my book, entitled “Did Noah’s Ark Travel Across Possibility Waves?” Here I illustrate how mythos, when properly interpreted, unifies biblical exegesis with the foundational elements of quantum theory. I suspect that Karen Armstrong could very well embrace this augmented approach to mythos, but Richard Dawkins would have no coherent response to this new and unexpected data.

Swedenborg claimed that Holy Scripture (God’s Word) is a multi-dimensional document with deeper layers of meaning and contains not only a detailed map of how humans can obtain eternal happiness (and escape the second law of thermodynamics) but also describes the patterning principles of all causal process in the universe. This knowledge needs to be reintroduced to the academic world—even if it leads to a painful upheaval for our present scientific and theological paradigms.

For additional info on this growing topic of interest check out http://www.provinggod.com

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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2 Responses to Mythos and Logos: Armstrong v Dawkins (v Swedenborg)

  1. David Delaney says:

    “Richard Dawkins fails to see evolution as a spiritual process and that human beings are uniquely adapted to take the trajectory of evolution into a non-physical realm”, This is one of the stupidest statements I have ever read, anywhere. Evolution is in no way shape or form ‘spiritual’. As for the Scripture being a multi-dimensional document! Honestly, this is absolutely sillyness. Show 1 scrap of empirical evidence. Whats wrong with you? Really, I’d like to know.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear David,

    Thank you for your passionate response. If you believe in the Big Bang then you have to accept the premise that the universe emerges out of a condition where physical laws no longer apply. So materialistic science (scientism) is faced with the “silly” notion that everything in creation had its prenatal existence in a state completely stripped of its involvement with time and space. My upcoming book “Proving God” shows how dynamical qualities and quantities can exist in a pre-space realm.

    The book also offers lots of evidence that Holy Scripture is a multi-leveled document expressing universal top-down causal processes within its sacred scaffolding. Since evolution shows a trajectory towards increased intelligence and consciousness it hints that complexity continues in a non-physical realm (the human mind is organized yet operates outside of time and space). I dare you to purchase the book this spring and comment on the evidence it provides.

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

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