Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Richness of the Strait and Narrow

My last post was supposed to be a one paragraph introduction to this idea: The exaltation of the Gods depends on allowing us--Gods in embryo--to travel as many paths to Godhood as possible.

This conclusion follows closely the belief that Gods evolved. Evolutionary success depends on maximizing reproductive rates. If the universe is as complex as required for Gods to be loving, faithful, trusting, creative beings, then it is unlikely that there is a single, optimal path to godhood. Just as there isn't a single way to become a healthy, productive adult, a single path to godhood is absurd. Again, I'm not denying some commonalities, but such commonalities will be limited to the bare essentials of productive and healthy godhood. Here's why.

There are, as of yet, undiscovered ways for Gods to increase their reproductive rates. Gods are never going to escape from an evolving universe, especially since they are in part driving that evolution. This means that, even if some Gods were able to figure out the single, optimal way to create more Gods at a particular point in time, the universe will change and new solutions to the problem of reproduction will become more effective. Without changing to match the universe, the Gods will lose ground in the reproductive race. So to maximize reproductive potential, Gods must explore as much of the reproductive possibility space as they can. This means empowering individuals to take different paths. Thus, preparing us for that future where we each must boldly take the best path we can find, without anyone having been there before to tell us how it will turn out, requires teaching us that confidence as soon as possible.

This means our Mormon God is in the business of doing only enough to keep humanity headed in the right direction while allowing the maximum amount of variation and freedom. As a loving God He's got a plan to pick up the broken pieces along the way, but He can't prevent even some intensely awful, temporary evil without losing reproductive fitness. So in one more way, atonement does not require making us the same, but bringing us to unity in a society of ever increasing diversity.

This raises the question, how can we have a society without any manner of "-ites" with the amount of diversity required in a successful community of Gods? One answer might be, we must cease defining different as other. We have to own variety.

So here is the sequence of questions for us Mormons to debate:
  1. Did Gods evolve? I say yes. If you say no, what kind of universe do you believe in? Is it really consistent with other tenets of Mormonism you believe in?
  2. Is the universe (or multiverse, or sum of what was, is, and will be) complex or simple relative to the knowledge of the Gods? Again, I say yes. If you doubt this supremely complex universe, do your other beliefs about God really support a belief in a simple universe?
  3. Does diversity contribute to the evolutionary fitness of the Gods? Yes, too. This seems to me unavoidable if you answer yes to the first two, but maybe it isn't. I could be missing something.
Go ahead and think about these for as long as you need. There are other answers out there, but if you are with me to here, there is no way around the need to become one in diversity. While diversity is not simply a good for its own sake--most variations either have no bearing on godhood or lead away from it--I think we have a long way to go in embracing the varieties of goodness that God likely recognizes as paths to exaltation. My suspicion is that the "strait and narrow" is not the "same and narrow-minded", but is as rich as all human goodness.

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