If this is just a computer program that we are all living in

If this is just a computer program that we are all living in…and the “real reality” is something much more than this, abiding in a higher dimension, then why wouldn’t it be beyond the realm of possibility that we mean next to nothing to our Creator? If such a Creator decided to just pull the plug one day and eradicate everything, how different would this be from some programmer who decided to abandon their work and leave the machine and program running–and one day it just ends or another programmer comes along to shut it off and make something else?

I have a few extra-sensory experiences of being a part of Love and something bigger than myself that was good. I don’t think I am able to get to faith in an all-loving God solely from scriptures. Even Jesus seems to be constantly threatening those of us who aren’t being very faithful at the moment he returns.

Rationally speaking, it seems most convenient to be an agnostic rather than an atheist. The evidence of misery in our world overwhelmingly points to a kind of God who isn’t interested in interfering in our affairs on a regular basis. There seem to be miracles only at the local level, and they are impossible to replicate. What is the intention of a God who would create a world that behaves a certain way, with certain rules we’ve come to accept as Truth from scientific inquiry, but this same God lives and moves and breathes (your ways are not my ways) in a realm of entirely different laws and “stuff.”

In other words, a computer programmer God. Which, in my estimation, can be vastly more superior to the Deist watchmaker God, but still could be better understood this way.

The reason for approaching God this way comes from watching people like Elon Musk and others talk about designing technology to break them out of the Matrix or keep them from aging. The problem with their thinking is, if you are utterly and completely stuck in a different system than the one in which your Creator lives and moves, you are ultimately at the mercy and whim of your Creator to continue to live, move and breathe in your own system, no matter how much you perfect technologies to upload your consciousness to longer-lasting materials, and redownload them every fifty years into cloned bodies of your original body. At the end of the day, if the Programmer turns off the machine, then that’s the end.

It seems to me that some of these guys, like other New Agey mystical types throughout history, including Crowley and so many would be gurus, actually believe that they can somehow meditate or perform magical rituals to ascend to a God consciousness in which they too become gods. This would be patently absurd–like artificial life teeming in a network like the Internet that becomes self aware and attempts to break out of the Internet into our reality and become human.

If I start from the premise of: I am in some kind of system that was created by a Higher Intelligence, and I am wholly incapable of ever being such an Intelligence, then my purpose should be found solely within the body and brains I was born with. In other words, attempting to augment myself, even through a technology like this one–writing–is getting me away from my ability to directly carry out my mission here on earth. What’s more, my mission may be utterly banal, like passing on my DNA.

On the other hand, if I am benefiting from technology that was wrought from the use of an intellect provided by a Creator, then it would seem to me that I should be capable of incorporating such technology in my overall quest to carry out my mission here on earth.

Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly carrying me where I wanted to go–where I want to go is to a place of utter simplicity–I live a life that is pared down in every way to just the very essential things I should be doing, and I learn to not get caught up in diversions and distractions.

Seminary has been good for me

Seminary has been good for me, though I am loath to consider myself as one of those individuals who come to seminary looking to be fixed. I don’t think of myself as being any more or less broken than anyone else. I may never be the perfect sort of pastor, but I don’t see why I can’t become successful in at least a small capacity of loving and helping others in a disinterested sort of way–by disinterested I mean something like being altruistic, not concerned with how I am paid back, if ever.

Maybe I won’t ever be a pastor or chaplain, but I certainly would like to find that church which really does need more helpers to sustain its life and community and presence in the world. I don’t need to be the star of the church recognized in every bulletin or seen at the front of the church every Sunday with my hands in everything, sitting on every committee and trying to help out in every single way imaginable. But likewise, I don’t want to raise my hand fervently as someone who wants to do more and be a part of more and then get called upon once a year to deliver a bucket of ice and few jugs of tea to a committee of the really important and recognized people of the church. It’s kind of the same thing with life and places I’ve worked at–if you ask to help too much people become suspicious of you and either avoide asking for your help or they decide you are a subhuman worthy of being used up in every imaginable way.

Seminary has taught me a lot about slowing down and meeting people in various modes of time and space that aren’t necessarily set to a calendar full of blocked-off meetings and walled-off moments where they are deigning to give you thirty minutes of their extraordinarily precious and valuable time. There are still people out there who will pause and have a human conversation with you without tapping their foot impatiently because they have somewhere more important to be.

I think that I will come out of here with my faith much stronger, because it has been so rigorously and thoroughly tested. What remains is a deep love for Christ and a desire to be in a more profound relationship with Christ and have a receptivity to how the Spirit moves. What is gone is my sense of a need to be a part of a given denomination, or carefully build up a social justice resume by being seen on Facebook doing highly visible things. What only lingers a little is a sense that I can somehow find something of deeper meaning by reading more and more books. I do think that books are ultimately just distractions if they become the go-to when you are seeking to have a more meaningful and thorough relationship with Christ in your everyday life. Books before prayer, books before communion with others and taking communion, books before worship, books before the Book, books about everything tangentially related to the time and place of the appearance of Jesus Christ, but never a moment of just putting all of the books aside and talking plainly and directly to Christ while reading some of His words from the Bible.

The honest and immediate nature of the act of being seized by the face of the other–Levinas–is a great gift from the seminary. This is much closer to how I think Christ intended us to respond to and interact with others as Christians. Being a better Christian is ultimately about becoming a better human being in all of the most virtuous and ethical ways imaginable, without getting caught up in human-generated laws, norms, codes and straitjacket ways of being that can drive you crazy no matter which side of the political aisle or what brand of Christianity you attempt to align with.