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God, the Universe and Everything

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    God, the Universe and Everything

    I am really not trying to incite some sort of outcry here, nor am I flame-baiting.
    I was just wondering about Mr. Moorcock's religious affiliations. It seems to me that, though now an aetheist, Mr. Moorcock, may have been Christian, Catholic. Also, it appears to me that perhaps the Multiverse was created by one being, or two. That the Lords of Chaos and Law are merely aspects of this/these creators.
    Is it a human trait to look for an all-powerful being to explain away any problems or is it that a God really does exist and he has inputted our varying beliefs.
    I myself was a passing Protestant in my youth (while attending a C of E school) though obly until I was 6 and realised that if there was a single God, he could not be described in the simplistic terms we were taught with. That though there may be an enormous God, it was stupid to label him with a singular title, especially when we had two practicing Muslims in my year, surely, if they called God Allah, there must be a difference?
    It is a perplexing idea. Are there any people on this board with particularly strong religious beliefs?
    I always found theological debate a fascinating subject, for example, it seems more probable to me that any God, is more liekly going to be as Von Bek describes him: Certainly, he is more complex than the clearly defined benevolence of the R.E teachers of High Schools.
    I can understand the point of the Hindus ( out of the religions that believe in a single all-powerful God) that their must be many seperate aspects of God. Surely, this timeless, transcendant being, must be more complex and ubiquitous than we can concieve and comprehend of. Therefore, for us to have any grasp of the sheer size and power of this God, we must break him into different Avatars. Indeed, the Eternal Champion could indeed be an Avatar of God. Indeed, if he the Eternal Champion is the servant of the Balence, then the balence must be God.
    Leastways, I would be most interested in what people have to say. I hope I have not offended anyone by writing these words, I merely wish to provoke a stimulating debate, not to offend or hurt anyone. I apologise profusely, in advance if any hurt is sustained.
  • VonWeiner
    Eternally Confused
    • Jan 2004
    • 950

    I never understood why many who claim "God" is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, wonder why bad things happen or talk about "Satan" or evil forces at work.

    An all-powerful creator would, by definition, be in control of all things. It would all be part of a creation which he/she/it understood completely. I guess this follows the logic of the hindus (as you mentioned).

    If the creator is such a being, then nothing would be left to "chance". Even chaos, chance, free-will, would be something already considered by this creator. He would have seen it already - every possibility, every choice - and by virtue of his omniscience he would already know the results, by his omnipotence he would be in control of each possibility, by his omnipresence he would be there when everything happened.

    If such a being did exist, how could any claim that they fight the forces of "evil". Wouldn't this creator be the source of that evil. Perhaps our tiny minds couldn't understand such a thing existing. We could not comprehend the "plan" much less the creator of it. Maybe it is just a game.

    Or maybe our human minds can't deal with the idea of non-existence and we invent a fantasy of a creator and an afterlife so that when we approach death, as we all must, it is with a feeling of serenity instead of terror.

    I usually don't add quotes, it seems to be some mechanism for people to say, "look how literate I am, boy am I smart!". Like braggadocio.
    This one seemed apropos.

    Why do we fret in microcosmic bonds that chafe the spirit and the mind repress,
    When through the clouds gleam beckoning beyonds whose shining vistas mock man's littleness.
    - H.P. Lovecraft

    or try the old reliable Hamlet "To be or not to be..." speech. You know ...but that the dread of something after death - the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns..." blah, blah blah...
    When they had advanced together to meet on common
    ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
    and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
    each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
    mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
    killing, and the ground ran with blood.

    Homer, The Illiad


    • dlackey
      Defender of the Runestaff
      • Dec 2003
      • 378

      The Captain of the Dark Ship tells the Four Are One that they are indeed more powerful than any of the gods!

      I view the EC as a hero figure conjured up by the collective will of Mankind to restore that which Mankind always longs for- stability (ie, the Balance). There are strong suggestions throughout all of the EC books that man created the gods and not vice versa, and oftentimes, the EC ends up killing the gods. In "The Skrayling Tree" we are told that every action, every longing, every dream creates another branch on the Multiverse.

      We are also given hints that the Multiverse and the EC are some kind of daydream:

      -The end of "The Dragon in the Sword" suggests that the EC and the Multiverse are the delusions of an Englishman named John Daker

      -"The Condition of Muzak" suggests that it is all the elaborate fantasy of another Englishman, Jerry Cornelius

      -"Blood" suggests that the varying scenarios the EC plays out are games waged by adepts like Jack Karaquzian.

      Well, I'm rambling here, but I guess my point is that the existance of an ultimate god is moot in this series. Elric goes looking for the answer and doesn't find it. If there is a god, it is indistinguishable from its creation. We see in the books varying scenarios where reality branches off into infinite scales, only to be brought back together again. Perhaps Order, Chaos and the Balance are the Trinity which forms the ultimate Godhead.


      • Michael Moorcock
        Site Host
        • Dec 2003
        • 14278

        Just a quick one here re. my religious affiliations.
        I'm inclined to favour pantheism over any other form of religion.
        Monotheism seems to create more trouble than any other kind.
        Although I went briefly to a Rudolf Steiner school and was no doubt influenced by it, my main influences re. religion is Huxley's Perennial Philosophy and Graves's The White Goddesses. I had an almost purely secular life, with a nod to Anglicanism such as no English child can fail to pick up. I tend to regard any religion or lack of religion I possess as being my own business and think we'd probably all be better off if everyone kept their religious opinions to themselves. Organised religion immediately becomes politics.
        I'm enjoying these speculations, thoug! :)

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses


        • BossHogg
          Moonbeam Traveller
          • Jan 2004
          • 6

          Not wishing to cause any offence or anything. Just a few points concerning accuracy, as vagueness in such matters usually leads to confusion and/or arguments.. or worse.

          That though there may be an enormous God, it was stupid to label him with a singular title, especially when we had two practicing Muslims in my year, surely, if they called God Allah, there must be a difference?
          This is a bit of a big one, as Judaism, Christianity and Islam do, essentially, all worship the same God. Perhaps this is why there have been such bitter rivalry between the three 'faiths'. The point of dissent between the three are based on when 'God' stopped talking to 'us'.

          Judaism never accepted Christ as the Messiah, and those Jews who did became the founding fathers of Christianity which, eventually, turned into a gentile faith.

          Christianity saw Jesus as the final messanger from God. The Seal of All Seals and so on. The New Testament, from this point of view, is the last 'contract' from God that we can sign up to. Slightly modern frame of context, I know, but it kinda works.

          Islam fully acknowledges its Judaeo-Christian ancestors. Again, Islam is considered by Muslims to be the final word from God and many of the Old Testament prophets are accepted in Islam, Jesus is also considered a prophet, just not to be the Son of God.

          These trends have shown themselves quite interestingly in the history of Europe and the Middle East. As Michael has pointed out the, the scriptural basis for Anti-Semitism, and more recently, issues between Middle Eastern Islam and Judaism are more an excuse/extenstion of politics, and probably best left to another thread.

          I can understand the point of the Hindus ( out of the religions that believe in a single all-powerful God) that their must be many seperate aspects of God.
          I am being a pedant, I know, but 'Hinduism' makes little sense in the context of India. it is essentially a Western term for the culture of the Indian Sub-Continent with all its numerous complexities. Some 'Hindus' are pantheistic, some are monotheistic. It is a whole minefield of complexity to the extent that 'Hindu' means very little in the context of describing ones religion. A poor comparison would be to describe a 'westerner' as a 'christian'. It does not describe the complexities of the different branches of Orthodox, Catholocism and the numerous Protestant schools of thought. Not does it satisfactorily describe the huge number of people who have 'christian' attitudes to morality and society but are not 'Christians'.

          I don't know if that is very clear or not, but I'll hoist it up the forum-pole and see what flies.

          I never understood why many who claim "God" is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, wonder why bad things happen or talk about "Satan" or evil forces at work.

          An all-powerful creator would, by definition, be in control of all things. It would all be part of a creation which he/she/it understood completely. I guess this follows the logic of the hindus (as you mentioned).
          You have just described 'The Problem of Evil'. This has been a problem for the Christian church since they abandoned any vague concept of gnosticism at the Council of Nicae(a bloody long time ago and I can't be bothered looking it up) when they declared such things as heretical... hence the thousands massacred in the Albigenesian Crusades (the ones getting chopped up were tha Cathars which might be more familiar).

          There is basically a good 1700 odd year history attempt to make sense of this from St Augustine, through St. Aquinas, to many others more recently. Very interesting although it does tend to get bogged down in hardcore, weirdassed nonsense about Best Possible Worlds and stuff. (Now I think about it it could have some relevance to multi-verse discussions. I still think it is nonsense as the kind of deity involved in the premise should, in my view, have no need to be bound by logic.)

          Funnily enough one of the better 'solutions' to the problem of evil, to my mind, is that free will is required to acheive salvation as there is no merit in being an automaton pre-programmed to be 'good'. So God gave us free will and we don't all use this oppportunity to be benevolent therefore evil exists. This accounts for moral evil to some degree, but I have problems with the whole earthquakes and disease factor of things.

          Oh boy.. losing focus a bit here.

          As a vaguely lefty(the amount depends on how drunk I am) humanist I kind of like Frued's take on the matter. It is even relativly sane for a coke addled pipe smoker. God's were created by us to explain the utter horror of the world around us.

          Basically, we looked at existance, realised we were up a certain creek without a paddle and proceeded to invent some gods so we could chop up cows, lambs and each other as sacrifices to them hoping this would somehow stop the volcano from exploding at us/harvest failing/capitalist-corporate oligarchies taking over the world.

          *catches breath* Phew.

          To cut to the chase, I agree with Michael on the whole. Organised religion is, generally, an extenstion of politics. Whether you or I think that my pet dog is the avatar of Zeus is neither here nor there and I am fairly certain that the world will be a better place if we don't try to tell anyone else about it.


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            Yup, I'm gonna have to hold my hands up here. I've really cocked this one up. I have to acknowledge some points. BossHog is completely right. I had just ahd R.E that same day and was incensed by the condescending tone the lesson was taught in, so I vented my anger on this site by posting a long and tedious essay based pretty much on how I was feeling at the time. Sorry about that. Therefore, I will have o say thankyou to: dlackey, from rescuing this boring and in parts wrong post by bringing up some very interesting points concerning the E.C and such like.
            I see the E.C as the final defender of humanity. Could it not be though, that the E.C is perhaps some kind of God in himself, and that humanity is merely a projection of the E.C's need to have someone to defend? It makes sense to me, as we are told that every dream and though creates a new branch of the multiverse, could it be that the E.C is the genitor of us, as we are his to protect. Could it then be that the Multiverse is the projection of the Balence (or two God-like beings in the centre of the tree representing Law and Chaos) and that the Multiverse is their's to protect? Or am I just getting needlessly messianic?


            • dlackey
              Defender of the Runestaff
              • Dec 2003
              • 378

              It is interesting to look at it from that perspective. This issue underlies the whole series- are the gods a projection of humanity's desires or vice versa? That same question could be applied to the Eternal Champion and its relationship to humanity. The paradox of existance eh? Brings us back to that old "chicken or the egg" dilemma. It could be argued that each of us is a multiverse, for within each of us exists infinte possibility. John Daker exists as a rather ordinary man in London (probably an accountant or something equally dull). Just one of the teeming billions on this planet. Yet within him exists a multitude of worlds in conflict- each world crying out to him for salvation, crying out for him because ultimately it is his need that created them.


              • Tales from Tanelorn
                Eternal Champion
                • Dec 2003
                • 2110

                Thoughts about GOD

                Mike, my understanding was that you were originally from the Jewish faith, but had decided to leave that behind at an early age? I vaguelly remember you saying that your mother (or was it your aunt?) was Jewish so maybe I got the idea from there.

                Interesting thing that Physicists at CERN are now looking for the "GOD Particle" as the seed of creation of the universe.

                Perhaps my greatest wish would be to fully understand the force of creation and workings of the universe. The whole thing appears so finely balanced with all the particles, forces and galactic structures which produce such incredible complexity including life and consciousness. It seems more by design than just random chance. If the fundermental laws of Physics were even slightly different then perhaps the whole universe itself might have ended up as a homogeneous green slime! Our universe, its creation and its workings are surely as impressive as any God? Perhaps we catch a glimpse of God in the magnificence of the universe, but we can also find him inside our own human hearts.

                Whilst on the subject, my other greatest wish would be to learn how far mankind really can go in his future and solve all the problems that threaten his existance including himself. Also to learn whether he eventually travels the cosmos and learn all there is to know, including making contact with extraterrestrial life, which surely must be out there somewhere. Mike, may I borrow Baron Kalan's time machine when he isnt using it?

                It would be very interesting to understand these things before I have to shuffle this mortal coil and enter oblivion. Alternatively, perhaps heaven will be learning the divine purpose and beauty of it all?

                Back to God, I think I have long since given up on the idea that God is a kind, but powerful old man, perhaps like Gandalf the white. It has been said that God is alive and well and working on a far less ambitious project, but who knows maybe the whole universe, almost infinite in size and 13.6 billion years duration, is in fact the dream of God. What happens when his alarm clock goes off???


                • kard
                  Sailor on the Seas of Fate
                  • Dec 2003
                  • 74

                  the idea of pantheism does not necessarly conlfict with monotheism, i would say. if there are multiversal worlds, it is still one universe that holds all the mutliple worlds, isnآ´t it? to assume multiple multiverses would only extrapolate the problem on to the next level, ad infinitum. of course the idea of pantheism is that god and the world are more or less one and interesting idea. of course then the next question occurs, if god is more than the sum of its parts, to assume something like a non-material world that makes things like freedom and choice possible (something beyond phisical determinism).
                  the danger of monotheism of course occurs that if every group pretends to hold "the" truth, that many fanatics seem to forget, that if there is "the" truth, all forms of belief would participate on it, since there canآ´t be multiple truths. there can me multiple opinions (and many false of course), but not multiple truths. A is either A or not A.
                  besides that iآ´ve always seen the struggle of the Eternal Champion as a metaphysical journey all the time. the EC is someone who has to act, not someone who is an introspect philosopher...
                  Ghandi in the world of The Land Leviathan for example seems to be some sort of spiritual leader who managed to develop a state of peace, and of pacifism. so Bastable could have joined Bantusan if he had a more philosophic mind maybe, rather than work on the destruction of the world with Cicero Hood.
                  a similar figure would be Bowgentle. Hawkmoon might listen to him, but he wonآ´t act after his principles. he is the eternal fighter, and cannot but lead a battle all the time. he cannot step outside his nature.


                  • Merou
                    Moonbeam Traveller
                    • Jan 2004
                    • 2

                    Though my opinion may seem rather simple, I agree with Mr. Moorcocks Characters when they say that man creates gods. I think that it was a psychological need in the past for early man to find something bigger than himself to explain his existence, and those things in nature that he could not understand. A good example of this is the religion of the Ancient Egyptians. Their later religion which we know more about has proved to be the culmination of a thousand rural deities. The farmers had gods of the Nile and the sun, the warriors, those of an invincible warrior. Many animals (especially the dangerous ones) were deities that killed the wicked. They explained the nature of the world and changed as the world changed, just as the deities that are presently warshiped change to suit our ever evolving society. For as advanced as the human race has become there are still things we fear and things that we can not control and therefore wish to associate with an omnipotent creature that can see all and knows all. It's a security blanket that the Human mind requires, since most can not mentally cope with the notion that we or something more powerful is not in control. Just my opinion. Oh, one additional thing, well two points actually. First, whether there be a single omnipotent god or many, it doesn’t change the fact that in most cases it is the faith itself that gives the most comfort to a given religion's followers. As for the question of evil posed by "BossHogg" I think that when any creature reaches a certain level of conciseness they then have the capability, and in some cases the propensity for evil. Most animals excluding higher level primates do not suffer from such a propensity and are only interested in survival. I believe it is when a species develops sufficiently to a point where survival and procreation are no longer the wholly dominating factors that it then becomes possible for said species to truly begin to do those things which we consider evil. Be it a capability instilled by a god or not, it seems predominate only among those species that have attained a certain level of, shall we say, "maturity". A maturity necessary also to develop the concepts of gods and devils in the first pace.


                    • Tales from Tanelorn
                      Eternal Champion
                      • Dec 2003
                      • 2110

                      Oh my Bush... I hope that doesnt mean Bush is the all powerful God of security brought into existance by the followers of GOP.....


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                        GODS, GRAVES & THE PRIDE OF MEN

                        Hello Friends:
                        There is no greater topic: here is my reply:

                        "I'd rather be a pagan suckled in a creed outworn" or something like that than a silly human who thinks that we created the concept of gods out of some need to explain evil or disasters.
                        That is really the weakest and most intellectually coward stance to say that we invented gods because of our emotions. Atheists never live out their creeds or ideas, because atheism is tantamount to meaninglessness. If there are no absolutes than nothing means nothing means anything. I can go murder my grandmother and mate with my hamster and in the end it really means nothing at all because I only return to wormwood and then chaos.

                        The fact is most men really never actually search for the truth because they are too wrapped up in their meaty desires of wine, women (or men) and how to keep the cash flow going. And truth usually is heavier than our carnal desires, and we are too weak to bear the truth. How many of us have actually studied historical and factual claims of Jesus, or the Visions of Muhammad, or the sayings of Confucius. If there are no greater truths than there are no smaller ones either. And blue is red and 1 is really 2.

                        The plain truth is that when the silver cord is cut and this pale world is peeled back before your eyes, you are going to meet with someone who created you and you will probably have to give account for your freewill or soul or whatever you choose to label it.

                        The fact is that man made himself God, fancied himself as quite an intelligent being and then convinced himself after millennia of being exiled by truth and good, that he actually invented the idea of God in the first place.

                        Its quite a gamble to just leave it up to the bone heads on the history channel and the five o'clock news to tell us who we are, who we were, and where we are going without taking a peek ourselves.

                        I sure there is a real eternal champion, the desire for one is written into our hearts, but most of us will never bother to look. There is plenty of real adventure out there, and there is a real enemy too. Well, the truth will be told shortly, you just have to wait 80 years or so depending on your genes. Go down to the local cemetery and take a look around, 147,000 every day get their questions answered.

                        Ponder Wisely


                        • Tales from Tanelorn
                          Eternal Champion
                          • Dec 2003
                          • 2110

                          John, I am afraid I have to inform you that 1 is in fact equal to 2 ...

                          Suppose x=1 and y=1
                          Then: x*y = x*x
                          Also: x*y - y = x*x - 1
                          After factoring: y*(x-1) = (x+1)*(x-1)
                          Dividing by (x-1) on both sides gives: y = (x+1)
                          Therefore 1 = 2 !!!

                          All numbers are now meaningless, try discussing it with your bank manager, goodnight and sweet dreams!


                          • Guest's Avatar


                            YAWN. Ok.


                            • Tales from Tanelorn
                              Eternal Champion
                              • Dec 2003
                              • 2110

                              A couple of other observations on "the meaning of Life&

                              Chairman: [of the Very Big Corporation of America]... which brings
                              us once again to the urgent realisation of just how much there
                              is still left to own. Item 6 on the Agenda, the Meaning of
                              Life... Now Harry, you've had some thoughts on this...

                              Harry: That's right, yeah. I've had a team working on this over the
                              past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to
                              two fundamental concepts... One... people are not wearing
                              enough hats. Two... matter is energy; in the Universe there
                              are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some
                              energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's
                              soul. However, this soul does not exist *ab inito*, as
                              orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into
                              existence by a process of guided self-observation. However,
                              this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be
                              distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.


                              Max: What was that about hats again?

                              Harry: Er... people aren't wearing enough.

                              Chairman: Is this true?

                              Edmund: [who is sitting next to Harry] Certainly. Hat sales have
                              increased, but not *pari passu... as our research -

                              Bert: When you say 'enough', enough for what purpose...?

                              Gunther: Can I ask with reference to your second point, when you
                              say souls don't develop because people become distracted...
                              has anyone noticed that building there before?

                              [They all turn towards the window to see a building
                              approaching or sliding into position outside.]

                              All: Gulp! What? Good Lord!

                              .................................................. .................................................. ..

                              Well, of course, warfare isn't all fun. Right. Stop that! It's all very well to laugh at the Military, but, when one considers the meaning of life, it is a struggle between alternative viewpoints of life itself, and without the ability to defend one's own viewpoint against other perhaps more aggressive ideologies, then reasonableness and moderation could, quite simply, disappear. That is why we'll always need an army, and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise.

                              [The Hand of god descends and vaporizes him.]
                              [The audience of two old ladies and two kids applauds hesitantly.]

                              .................................................. .................................................. .......

                              Well, that's the end of the film. Now, here's the meaning of life. Thank you, Brigitte. M-hmm. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations, and, finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully spark some sort of controversy, which, it seems, is the only way, these days, to get the jaded, video-sated public off their fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family entertainment bollocks. What they want is filth: people doing things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties, babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens, armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats-- Where's the fun in pictures? Oh, well, there we are. Here's the theme music. Goodnight.

                              Monty Pythons Flying Circus ... The meaning of Life