Without religion, man becomes a disbeliever,
without metaphysics he turns into something worse than an animal.
Among the many words, which have subject to a shift in meaning is the word metaphysics, since Aristotle who first coined the word with the literally meaning, that which ‘beyond physics’, where physics denoted nature and everything ’becoming’.
The word ’metaphysics’ has always been used to denote:
“The study (and realization)1 of 'first principles’. These principles are permanent truths, statements about eternal realities.2 They have to do with Being, and with the relationship of Being to the universe – spiritual, psychic and material – which allows it to appear. They even touch upon what is beyond Being. To use religious language, metaphysics has to do with the nature of God, and the relationship of God to the cosmos, and to humankind. Metaphysics is therefore the natural partner of theology; the only difference3 is that theology studies ‘revelation' what God has revealed to us on His own initiative, and metaphysics studies God and His manifestation starting from our God-given ability to know Him simply because He is our Creator, and therefore something of Him remains within our nature.”
“This does not mean, however, that theology and metaphysics make up two distinct worlds, since it is primarily God's Self-revelation in the great religious traditions which awakens, from the sleep of our fallen (or forgetful) nature our ‘supernaturally natural’ ability to know Him, and it is specifically through ‘Intellection’ – metaphysical intuition4 – perfectly married to Divine Love, that this Self-revelation comes to be perfected in the human soul.”
Both were right about how metaphysics or theology can go wrong but not about what these two ways of knowing God actually are in themselves.”
“So one answer to the question ’Why is metaphysics important?’ is:
‘So that we don't lose the very concept of objective Truth.’ Metaphysics deals in absolutes, in the necessary implications of Absolute Truth. If we no longer believe in Absolute Truth, then everything becomes relative. If everything becomes relative, then Truth is replaced by power; it is reduced to whatever this or that powerful individual or government or special interest has the power to say is true. And this is exactly how we look at questions of truth today: we believe that they are nothing but masks for questions of power.”5 SAC72
[A confused state of mind with many of our people as a result of overt egotism and greed and fear of the other in our societies, such is the state of affairs.)
This is the ultimate result of the growth of the kind of society in which metaphysics has no place. Without a sense of absolute, objective Truth, everything becomes subjectivized, which is why psychology is now replacing both theology and philosophy. And when spiritual truth is hidden, not even psychology can maintain its own level, but is pushed in a materialistic direction, till all that’s left of it is behaviorism, and finally psychopharmacology. Furthermore, when the Absolute is replaced by the subjective, all subjectivities are ‘absolutized'. My individual experience is just as ‘absolute' as yours, and yours as mine; this is called ‘tolerance'. But if there is no objective Reality which includes both of us because it is bigger than us, if we are nothing but separate and hermetically-sealed universes of experience, how can we relate to each other? [except for taking advantage of each other and finally destryoing each other. But human kind does have an alternative.] SAC73
So a society's relationship to metaphysical trurh has everything to do with the essential nature of that society. But social value of metaphysics, is only a refection of much deeper levels of truth, one of which has to do with the fact that some people absolutely need metaphysical knowledge if they are to have a living relationship with God. These people are not 'believers'; they are 'knowers'. Faith is not enough for them, not because they scorn faith but because they are capable of knowledge, and will not be allowed to 'bury their talent' without serious consequences. But in a society like ours which both fundamentally denies objective metaphysical truth, and at the same time provides a vast spectrum of false doctrines, either foolish, unconsciously sinister or deliberately subversive, which masquerade as metaphysics, the person with the potential to be a 'knower' is misdirected at every turn, and is in danger of becoming either a religious skeptic, since the religious doctrines he is exposed to seem childish to him (ignorant as he is of their deeper meaning), or an apologisc for seemingly more sophisticated doctrines which, unknown to him, are radically opposed to traditional metaphysics. The temptarions, tests, and pitfalls facing the 'knowers' are formidable; they have a much longer and harder road to travel than the believers. They SAC75
To be confronted by hundreds of cults and religions, and therapies masquerading as religions, to be asked to choose from among them the one which represents Divine Truth with no tradition of Divine Truth to tell you how, and then, exhausted by the struggle, to give up the quest for objectivity and opt for the one (or the ten) systems which seem most compatible with your personal style-which means that instead of worshipping God you are actually worshipping yourself- this was nor among the pitfalls facing a member of any traditional culture.
In an emerging global society where the doctrines and practices of every world religion, and every mystical path within these religions, plus dozens of forms of traditional shamanism, are becoming available everywhere to serious seekers, and also to frivolous curiosity-seekers and budding magicians on the trail of psychic power, religion becomes relativized. If more than one religion is rue, then no religion can be absolute-but the essential rationale for any religion is just this: that it gives access to Absolute Truth. So religious 'believers' have no recourse but to either violently denounce other sac76
Charles Upton writes: “not theory alone but also realization” – “In Eastern orthodox Christianity, the word ‘theology’ covers much more than it does in the West, since it incorporates an operative or contemplative dimension. It denotes not theory alone but also realization, making it roughly synonymous with the Islamic term ma`rifah.”↩
also sometimes called ’mystical philosophy’↩
“During most of Christian history up to the end of the Middle Ages, theology and metaphysical philosophy were either the same thing or closely related, though the temptation to separate them was certainly always there, since some metaphysicians tended to see scripture-studying theologians as people mechanically working with ’second-hand’ material, while some theologians habitually viewed metaphysicians as potential heretics, arrogantly prying into divine mysteries on their own initiative without the sanction of scripture and tradition. Each saw the ’shadow’ of the other, nor the essence.↩
or intellectual intuition↩