Why is the Swedenborgian Church not spreading?

ProvingGod300rgb2011blg-medIn some cases, people are even leaving that church. I did. This is happening in spite of scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg’s remarkable efforts at bringing potent new ideas about God, spirituality, life after death, and foundational scientific issues to the table of human inquiry.

One big reason for this sorry state of affairs is that the current church culture has failed to captivate the imagination of the world with Swedenborg’s great treasure of ideas. Creativity aside, another big reason is the false notion that many of Swedenborg’s ideas are the product of 18th century thought and thus outdated. This misguided notion revolves around ignoring Swedenborg’s potent scientific models and his seemingly limited view of what would be described today as social justice issues.

I have labored to publish a book showing that Swedenborg’s scientific thought surpasses that of modern thinkers who support relativity theory, quantum mechanics and the Neo-Darwinian synthesis. Swedenborg even once stated that, “men see everything, but understand nothing.” (There is no reason to think that this condition has changed.)  So, at least Swedenborg himself did not believe that his scientific endeavors were a product of his era.

My book Proving God explores his unique ideas concerning the mysterious dynamics behind the self-organization of all structure in the universe, his idea that physical, mental and divine processes had no finite ratio with each other, yet they had correlation. The book also shows why LOVE is the first causal principle of the universe and forms lawful and coherent processes consisting of orbs (Circle of Life).

Nowhere have I found Swedenborg limited by the scientific ideas of his era or fellow researchers. In fact, he strongly rejected most of them!

Now, let me address the issue of post-modern social sensitivities. Swedenborg’s theological work Conjugial Love offers spiritual ideas about men and women that seem archaic within the lens of modern activism and progressivism. Some followers of Swedenborg are embarrassed by this situation. Again, this is blamed on Swedenborg being limited by 18th century European (white guy) values. However, he personally witnessed in heaven an African (black) spirit who could answer spiritual questions better than any of the European (white Christian) spirits. Was Swedenborg enlightened for just that one tiny moment?

His comments on women and homosexuals have nothing to do with social (worldly) justice and terrestrial equality, which have genuine value on terra firma. He goes deeper, much deeper. Swedenborg’s observations of men and women in heaven, was that they had distinct spiritual differences and were inwardly (and eternally) designed to promote each other’s spiritual growth—in the most intimate way imaginable. A man or a woman was only half an angel. In heaven, women boasted of being wives rather than of any individual accomplishment or ability. Swedenborg also had negative observations of most heterosexual relationships (from a spiritual perspective). He saw too many leanings towards adultery in most marital partnerships. The real issue was not whether one was gay or straight but rather, if one was capable of sincere repentance and regeneration, and, if one’s desired relationship led to opening up genuine and deeper levels of spirituality in both partners.

This current confusion tells me that even Swedenborgians do not yet grasp the true nature of spirituality and the process of regeneration—at least to the point that they can “wow” and amaze others. The physical church will not grow until its members start manifesting real spiritual progress—in a way that is obvious to others!

Instead, the members of the Swedenborgian community seem to be in a state of stasis.


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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4 Responses to Why is the Swedenborgian Church not spreading?

  1. Mark says:

    You are an idiot. So being regenerated means you have to accept modern morality as superior to the morality of bygone ages? Are you also saying that God changes? Perhaps the problem is all yours–you seem to pass judgement on the past as though you stand on some sacred vista above those that were more spiritually and intellectually mature than you are. Lets see where modern morality gets this country and the world in 20 years. The damage is already clear. It never ceases to amaze me how the writings of Swedenborg have been abased by people unable to be conformed to God, but feel the incessant need to force God to conform to them and their modern mores which smack of pure spiritual failure and hostility toward God.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Mark,

      Did you actually read the article? I am an award-winning author who is promoting Swedenborg’s science and theology. This article is not about me but about institutions that are failing to make Swedenborg relevant in a modern world.

      Spiritually yours,

  2. Mark says:

    You lament that the Swedenborg religion doesn’t match modern, materialist secular liberalism. You are an idiot. If you want that to be your religion, then just believe in it and it is. There is no reason for any other religion or believer to aspire to such conformist values. Liberalism is the exact opposite of spirituality, and your professed low self-esteem in your article exhibits how it has damaged your psyche. When “progressivism” progresses to twice the level that it is now, will you then, again, cast shame upon traditional belief systems for not keeping up? Your sense of self, traditionalism, spirituality, and simple reason is lacking.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Mark,

      Yes, I am an idiot. We all are! However, your expressed opinion is way off base because If you read my books and blogs (carefully) you would know that I strongly challenge the modernist view of reality (including their science). My award-winning book “Proving God” is one such example. I suggest you read it then get back to me.

      The traditional world of religion has distorted true spiritual principles! Sorry.

      Spiritually yours,

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