The God Part

I have talked about true godliness and the central focus on personal relations, which might be obvious to Quakers. Perhaps the role of science is not obvious.

For the competition, I reviewed my education in, my experience with and my understanding of science and our place as humans in the universe. The details are in my paper but the result was a change in – or rather a crystallisation of – my ideas about the nature of God – which gave form and rationality to my notion of the spiritual craftsmanship of a Master Quaker.

God has an inner, experienced aspect and an outer observable aspect – the part that science sees and tells us about. Think of an engineer like Ismbard Kingdom Brunel or Tim Burners Lee (who designed the World Wide Web), an artist like Barbara Hepworth or Salvador Dali. Each of them created something which we can see, study, and use in some way. They also had an inner life of their own which we can sometimes get inklings of. Looking at their work we experience thoughts and emotions about it in our own inner world. The insight for me was to realise that my inner experience of God (Inner Light, in Quaker-speak) was the same God as the outer physical world that God is credited with creating. Interacting with the world through my behaviour and in particular through the medium of science is as much worship as sitting in silent worship. It is actively “… answering that of God “ in myself and the world.

The article on Football World (football-world) graphically illustrates that we each live in our own “football”. I can’t can’t see out and you can’t see in. At the same time, you can’t see out of your football and I can’t see in. What’s outside is hard, physical and real. What’s inside is experience, emotion and thought – spiritual. One spirit communicates with another through physical means - a painting, a mobile phone, speech, a facial expression.

Social psychology takes the separation of inner and outer as read, and deals only with the external behaviour. Quakers take the separation of inner and outer as read and deal mainly with the inner spiritual – but with a fascination for external action. Philosophers, of course debate their mind-body problem.

Spiritual craftsmanship (spiritual-craftsmanship-short-version) bridges these two worlds, the spiritual and the physical, through well-crafted behaviour.

My insight was that the inner and outer parts are of the same God, just as they are of the same human person, whom we get to know in different ways. Interacting with someone and building a relationship with them is one way of answering that of God in them. Interacting with the physical world through science or through practical activity is a way of answering the physical aspects of God. Working with oneself, understanding and experiencing oneself builds a long term relationship with oneself and answers that of god in oneself. It is the same God in all three cases and the spiritual relationships need craftsmanship

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