This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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On points of view, physical and spiritual

When we observe an object in the physical world, provided we do not move and it does not move, we can describe it in detail and what we describe, if we are accurate, is perfectly true. But it is not a complete description of the thing observed, since we can only see those details that appear on the side facing us. This is the limitation of a “point of view” and could only be remedied by either omniscience (knowing all the details of the object without having to see them) or omnipresence (allowing us to see it from all sides at once). These things belong only to God, of course, so when dealing with people we are always dealing with a point of view. And more importantly, when we move from one person to another–perhaps a person standing on the opposite side of the object we happen to be observing–we find a very different point of view. In fact, if we asked that person to describe the object, the description they produce might be starkly different than our own. Correspondences will exist–we may agree on the height of the object. But whereas we see only a blank sphere they might see a face. And it would be ignorance pure and simple to argue that they could not be seeing a face simply because we saw no face on our side of the object.

Of course, the difficulty in the physical world is easily overcome by simply walking to the other person’s position and observing the object from there. In other words, we simply shift our point of view and we can see what they are seeing for ourselves.

Now, the point of that illustration was to say that when we speak of a religion’s “point of view,” we are talking about a situation that is analogous to the one just described, with the only difference being that it is not possible for a person to change his spiritual point of view. This is because spiritual point of view is something that transcends us, and so it is passively received by us. While we can alter the location of physical bodies, but we cannot alter our basic spiritual constitution any more than we can choose to be one race at one moment and another race the next.

Hopefully this sheds some light on the problem of mutual understanding and respect between religions. When you have one religion claiming that God is a faceless god, and another religion, from a slightly different spiritual point of view, claiming with equal fervor that, on the contrary, God has a fearful countenance, the two will always have trouble coming to an agreement. Hence the antagonism between religions. The esoteric way involves acknowledging that both may be speaking the truth; the exoteric path, its purpose being the facilitation of grace within a limited group, will never lead to such a realization and, on its own, has no means of reconciling itself with members of another faith.

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