The Holy of Holies: 
On the Constituents of Emptiness 

Mitchell Stephens     Professor of Journalism     New York University

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Or, maybe, the Bible is not a historical document.

James says:

In the beliefs and practices that we now call Hinduism, the fundamental division was not between those who believed in God or gods and those who didn’t but between those who accepted the Vedas as revelatory and those who did not. Nastikas, those who say no to the Vedas, do not accept them as revelation. The Vedas, though, are perhaps unique as far as revealed texts go since they are self-revealed. No God is required. Moreover, the Hindu gods are oftentimes not considered to be immortal or all powerful (this changes with later strands that are now dominant) but rather beings existing in samsara, worldly existence. Their lives are extremely long and they are extremely powerful, but they will nonetheless eventually die and be reborn, and being a god is generally a way to accumulate a lot of bad karma!

When the Carvakas say “nature” they probably don’t mean nature in the sense that we post-Enlightenment people do.

mitch says:

For a mostly persuasive analysis of the logic behind arguments for the existence of God, see Nicholas Everitt, The Non-Existence of God. I believe there are pretty good logical arguments against the possibility of “omnipotence,” for example. And that the concept of God might be shown to be, as Everitt puts it, “self-contradictory, just as the concept of a highest prime number is self-contradictory.” Whether God might supercede logic is another matter.

Noah SD says:

Was God actually supposed to appear in the Holy of Holies?

If so, you should mention this earlier.

Noah SD says:

You’re on really really sketchy ground when you imply that belief in God is logically inconsistent. Some belief systems are logically inconsistent, but there are certainly plenty of versions of God that are logically consistent.

Jay says:

“It is my deeply unholy thesis that a spiritual emptiness survives in the windowless room inside most humans.”

Doesn’t a spiritual emptiness imply the existance of spirituality?

We have no words to describe a world without belief because there isn’t one.

Jay says:

To be a witch doctor one must believe in witch doctors. Knowing he could not do the proper magic would not shake his faith in witch doctors, only in his own witch doctorness. It’s a trap I like to call thinking.