Quora answer: Are there any Absolutes?

Feb 26 2012

I have just written a post about this on the question Does God Exist?

Does X Exist?: Does God exist?
It turns on what an absolute is and whether they can exist. There can be only one absolute. But different people posit various properties of the absolute, and mix up the idea of absolute with God especially in monotheistic religions.

My post says that an absolute cannot have anything to do with Existence or Being because there are contingencies associated with them, so if you think God is an absolute that means He cannot Exist or have Being.

In general an Absolute cannot have contingencies or limitations associated with it or it would not be absolute. But historically the idea has been mixed up with God, with Being, with Existence had had many other properties associated with it and so that means that many absolutes have been projected historically by various authors and others.

However, it is still up in the air as what characteristics an absolute must have, and whether any has manifested in Actuality.

Hegel gives a pretty coherent view of the nature of the absolute and he associates it with society and its understanding of the world and history.

His view is that Absolute Spirit is what human beings share beyond self-consciousness, as the next level up that does not quite reach group consciousness. But he believes that the Holy Spirit, a neglected part of the Trinity, is the nature of absolute spirit that binds communities, and even states together. But his treatment of christianity as the bearer of that absolute spirit seems really doubtful.

Here is a thought, perhaps Islam is an outbreak of Absolute spirit into history. That is through the Holy Spirt Gabriel the Angel visiting the Prophet Muhammad with messages from a God who not only has all the features of an Absolute but also has a name, which he confides in Muhammad, which was Allah.

If you plug Islam into the place where Hegel starts talking about Absolute Spirit and read some early Islamic history about the first four Califs and the Prophet Muhammad, then I think you will see that this is the most credible historical instance about which we actually know something for a breakout of Absolute Spirit into History.

So I would say that the God of the Muslims is a candidate for an Absolute of a very unexpected kind which challenges the Pagans, Christians, Jews, and Arabs by taking their own best works and doing them better and then challenging them to be do still. The Quran is the only book written that even comes close to be ostensibly by the Absolute. If you do not think of Allah as just another version of the Monotheistic God, but as the Absolute then I think Islam makes more sense. Combining Hegels insight into the nature of the Absolute acting in history, and the actual history of the early Muslims and the reading of the book by the Absolute I believe gives a concrete example that can be shown to have an incredible amount of consistency.

Allah challenged the Arabs at their greatest art Poetry and asked them to do better than Quran, and challenged them saying that they could not come up with anything even like it.

He challenged the Jews with regard to knowledge of their own prophets. And claimed that the Jews had falsified the works of the prophets and had killed them without cause.

He challenged the Christians on the Trinity, and the idea that Jesus is an avatar, by having Jesus deny it himself in quotations in the Quran.

He challenged the Polytheists of that time and challenged the fact that those gods could not do anything for their believers, whereas Allah could.

The key hadith in Islam is where Gabril, the Holy Spirit, appears in public and comes to question the Prophet Muhammad.

The fact that Hegel sees the same thing in Jesus is not surprising, and is probably true but we have much less information about this prophet than we do about Muhammad.

So just as an exercise Read Phenomenology of Spirit/Ghost/Mind and see what is said there about the Absolute, and then read the early history of the Muslims including the Quran and I think you wil see what I mean, that this is a good candidate for the breakout of the absolute into history, and that gives credence to the same being true of other prophets like Jesus.

See https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cAT94gjh3RSLViCFWZkUUqocgZZU4wobVq0Izqn2pD8/edit?hl=en_US


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