Is There a "Plurality of Worlds"? Do We Have Cousins Out There?
The Revised Viewpoint was borne on the wings of a traditional teaching (original viewpoint) personified in an unforgettable sermon of a fire and brimstone preacher over 50 years ago.
From thence, through the years a series of transforming vivid experiences that led me away from the Original to a new Viewpoint.
That first notable sermon juxtaposed against a "transformational period" (the 1975-1978) are the sign posts that mark the beginning and the end of my original and then revised viewpoint.
Of course, this Revised Viewpoint changed my life.
-- That Day in New York City in a Rented Hotel Ballroom.
I will not take long with this description, but will pay attention to the depth of the passion in this talk.
Minister Clark was a Korean War Veteran who had a big Irish voice and a tenor tone that shook the crystals hanging on the hotel candelabra.
Someone made the mistake of asking him at a counseling session about the "plurality of worlds" and "reincarnation" and "the fall of Man".
After condemnatory vocabulary and a rising tone that sounded like "blood lust", he told every one of those poor little converts about the sheer "demonism" in even having a question about the idea that there could be other earths, that those other earths might also have religion and theology.
It was a brow beater.
At the age of 12, I had not yet had thoughts like this, so his stentorian thunder was more of a spectacle than a persuasive statement.
I asked my Mother, as we drove back to New Jersey from the City, "Mom, why was he loud, and what was he talking about?" This was truly the first time I had thought about this question.
Ironically the thunderous presentation embedded the question in my head, rather than wiping it out.
Fast forward to the end of the 60's I went to the church's college.
I ended my college years as one of the top theological students and top GPAs.
I went out as Student Body President with a young wife to Houston, Texas to be an exemplary minister.
I was so famous amongst our graduating class for knowing more scriptures than others that competitive types, after doing pick up contests around the dining room table, would say: "Chris knows all the scriptures we know, but then he also knows scriptures that NONE of us know.
It's like we are playing "HORSE" with a basketball, and he pulls out the shot know one else can make.
" I say this not to be prideful, but simply to say that I was steeped in this fundamentalist, by the book, sabbatarian, Quaker-oriented church.
I was not someone who "never got the plan" or was not "with the program".
My leap was from extremely deep integration into a new anti-church set of ideas.
So, as disagreeing ministers have discovered over the ages - you can't stop thought.
As time went on, squelched thought did not prevent ideas from being entertained.
Some Founding Fathers My reading started in a funny place.
Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, among many others, influenced by the "new rationality" of the early 1800's were encouraged through their logic to question a "Christian" view of the world.
Many of them held a logical position that the universe was vast enough to hold more than one world like "Earth".
This is one of the main reasons - when people talk about the words "Deists" and "Christian" that one of the divergent concepts was the belief in a "Plurality of Worlds".
Certainly there are others, but this one stands out, especially for the purposes of my "transformative position" on this topic.
The idea that intelligent living beings might exist somewhere has tantalized the minds of men since the dawn of recorded history.
Virtually every civilization or major culture on Earth has entertained some such speculation, whether in its mythology, its religious or scientific writings, or in its philosophy of nature.
The sophisticated concept of aliens indigenous to planets circling faraway stars did not blossom into existence overnight, however.
The theme of extraterrestrial life has slowly evolved over the course of many millennia of pensive human contemplation.
Before it was accepted that Earth was a mere planet and that many others could exist, intelligent nonhuman beings were commonly viewed in a mythological context.
But as man learned to appreciate the vast scale of the universe, the idea of life in the physical cosmos matured and gained wider currency.
In My Father's House are Many Mansions...
It turns out that Thomas Paine made an impassioned statement against the idea of "Plurality of Worlds".
Ironically, he did so because this was a "hot topic" in the late 1700's in America.
some religious Americans, undeterred by Thomas Paine's writings, would continue to find harmony in science and faith, such as the Reverend Thomas William Jenkyn: "It is not, I conceive, the philosophy of NEWTON only, which teaches us the doctrine of plurality of worlds; the illustrious President of the universe himself has said, "In my Father's house are many mansions.
" The "Father's house" is the vast temple of the universe, and the "many mansions," are the innumerable stars, and suns, and systems which compose its apartments.
" During the Inquisition, It Was Not Difficult to be a Famous Pantheist and also a Dominican Friar and be Burned at the Stake Giordano Bruno, born Filippo Bruno, was an Italian Dominican Friar, Philosopher, Mathematician and Astronomer.
His theories went beyond the Copernican model in proposing that the Sun was essentially a star, and moreover, that the universe contained an infinite number of inhabited worlds populated by other intelligent beings.
After the Inquisition found him guilty of heresy for his pantheism, he was burned at the stake.
After his death he gained considerable fame, particularly among 19th- and early 20th-century commentators who, focusing on his astronomical beliefs, regarded him as a martyr for free thought and modern scientific ideas.
This model I viewed as similar to my experience.
And from Asia...
As a young minister in the 1970's, I emerged as an independent thinker.
Because I had my particular mindset, I was not long for the doctrinal stricture that I had grown up in.
I began to read Asian books, history and philosophy.
I happened upon this quote: "Empty space is like a kingdom, and earth and sky are no more than a single individual person in that kingdom.
"Upon one tree are many fruits, and in one kingdom there are many people.
"How unreasonable it would be to suppose that, besides the earth and the sky which we can see, there are no other skies and no other earths.
" -- Teng Mu, a Chinese scholar of the Sung Dynasty (960 -- 1280 A.
) "Did She Fall or Was She Pushed?" - The Fall of Man This famous climactic line from a Vaudevillian Narrator trying to fill the audience with a new doubt which would have them return tomorrow night, became a part of the family dialogue, as my father would twirl a fake mustache, and make his kids laugh.
A recurring family comedy, it began to take on a whole new identity in my hyperactive brain.
Did Man Fall, or Was He Really Pushed? As a student of many disciplines, in 1975 I began to read very widely.
I would ask myself: "Did man fall (the fall of man), or was mankind "pushed" into existence? The Kabbalah holds this as do other disciplines.
This also emerged naturally from a wondering about multiple places for man to live.
"In my Father's House are many mansions" is a phrase that both invited the concept of more than one life, and plurality of worlds.
Then I began to study astrology.
For many reasons I began to distrust the idea of a "negative fall of man", the concept of "woman as temptress" and the idea that we as humans were "locked under a wet blanket of a sinful identity from birth".
(A hideous inheritance of Roman Catholicism in its Love of beating us to death with our "Natural Concupiscence").
I read and read and learned that Astrology is a system for describing how personalities in the "local neighborhood" get imprinted.
It has very little to do with "fortune telling".
The idea that a person can be clothed in flesh was in fact a divine statement that the Soul was WORTHY of a life, not damned into existence.
Astrology has to do with character descriptions so that that worthy life can be lived with a sense of purpose.
And so the "plurality of worlds", the "nature of humankind" and the idea of "multiple existences" all went together in my mind.
The Human Baby is NOT a Tabula Raza Ironically, this part of "Christofer's Change" had to do with an "Experience of the Heart".
There was a great deal of Cerebral Activity, but underlying that there was the activity of the Heart and the Soul.
Leaving the rational and left-brained thought behind, the 70's were a time that shook my soul.
How? Just by delivering my children (part of our religion was to be "naturalistic" in approach to baby delivery).
As I experienced these events, I could not see the famed Tabula Raza that so many endorse.
I could not see that the soul being born was stuck with an empty slate, nor could I see them as having an evil disposition.
I began to see humanity as having had a "plan of salvation" that could actually involve a "plurality of worlds" and that other philosophies breathed life into a notion of a FORTUNATE AND INTENDED FALL.
The LOGIC of the First View: That this one world is a "Prison" to which we are sent because of the Fall of Man, and since this one planet is the only place for God's Work, then we are sent here as the "damned" and must be "redeemed" in this one place - the rest of the Universe being unused stardust that God could not figure out what else to do with.
There is a logic to it, but to me it was simplistic - the next stop was "heaven" or "hell", however it was conceived.
And so, it is understood: The Singular World/Sin Soaked Soul and Need for Damnation or Redemption View - One landing spot - one life - one set of experiences - one chance to "get to heaven - hope you have good genes, hope you are born in a fortunate circumstance - hope your lot is peaceable and prosperous.
How the "Fortunate and Intended Fall of Man" and "The Plurality of Worlds" Combine in a New View for Me I do not hesitate to point out that this is an ancient point of view.
There have been ideas such as these for a long time.
When you add the physical idea of the plurality of worlds, this view takes on a more lustrous context full of variety and curious wonder in terms of multiple existences.
It also makes the physicality of life not a sweaty fleshly carnal curse on one planet, but a way that souls have newer and newer experiences in a universe full of variety and wonder.
I have not thoroughly discussed all of the quotes from the New Physics, in which many mathematical views cannot possibly envision a universe of this size that has accidentally created just one earth.
There are those who estimate, by virtue of mathematical odds that we might have millions of earth-like planets.
But, in my change of viewpoint, I did not use these quotes and books as references.
I agree with these "guestimations" now, but then my changes came from philosophical influences.
The early 70's found me in a state of questioning, rethinking so many things and reading omnivorously.
Those stentorian sermons of my youth, the ministerial college and my young ministry were now fighting with thoughts of "plural worlds of whirling ideational possibility".
So many things became grist for my mill.
But then the psychological/psychic experiences that came with the delivery my three daughters caused a shift in my way of looking at human life and its purpose.
As each child drew in its first breath, upon me came a pouring out of sentiment and insight which seemed to open the sliding doors of heaven for micro seconds.
I held those beautiful creatures and saw inbound souls who without language were still gazing at the parting hands who guided them into physicality and a new experience that I would assist them with.
I saw no sinful nature.
I saw no "locked in" evil psyche.
Without covering too many of these transformational moments, I emerged from the 70's a completed changed person.
My former training and service as a Minister put me in an organization for which I could no longer work.
As logic would tell you, when most all of a minister's beliefs change in small, medium and fundamental ways, he can't continue.
After a transition and many life changes, my new Viewpoint became the ship that I would sail for the rest of my life.
The Plurality of Worlds/Fortunate and Intended Fall of Man/More than one life/Life based upon Experience, not Damnation-Salvation/the Variety of Conditions leads to a richer experience for the Living Soul/Each time given a new "agenda" for its' "more than one life" contexts.
I came upon the below Wordsworth poem to sum up not only the feelings that enveloped me as a young father, but the sentiments that overcame me as I pondered what I believed to be the true nature of mankind.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy! William Wordsworth.
1770-1850 In answer to my titular posit: Yes, I do believe we are related to "beloved cousins" that are not on this planet alone.