GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast

115. What's On Our Mind- A Worldwide Spiritual Explosion

February 23, 2023 Jerry L. Martin, Scott Langdon
115. What's On Our Mind- A Worldwide Spiritual Explosion
GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
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GOD: An Autobiography, As Told to a Philosopher - The Podcast
115. What's On Our Mind- A Worldwide Spiritual Explosion
Feb 23, 2023
Jerry L. Martin, Scott Langdon

Questions? Comments? Text Us!

Dr. Jerry L. Martin and Scott Langdon share a conversation about the thread that goes through the past five episodes of discernment, theologically, philosophically, and in our everyday lives. Understand faith as the relationship to the divine or reality in your life. What defines your true North? Are there any magnets throwing your compass off target?

Not a new religion but a new spiritual understanding of our current situation. Explore religious tradition with an open mind and see it anew.

BUY THE BOOK- God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher

LISTEN TO RELEVANT EPISODES- [Dramatic Adaptation] I Learn How To Tell When A Message Is From God [The Life Wisdom Project] Situational Attention [Two Philosophers Wrestle With God] How To Live: Part 1, Part 2 [What's On Your Mind] Articulating A Relationship With God

-Share your story or experience with God-

God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, is written by Dr. Jerry L. Martin, an agnostic philosopher who heard the voice of God and recorded their conversations.

The podcast began with the Dramatic Adaptation of the book and now has several series:

WATCH- God Are You Listening?

READ- An Inconvenient God

#thelifewisdomproject, #godanautobiography, #experiencegod

Share Your Story | Site | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube |

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Questions? Comments? Text Us!

Dr. Jerry L. Martin and Scott Langdon share a conversation about the thread that goes through the past five episodes of discernment, theologically, philosophically, and in our everyday lives. Understand faith as the relationship to the divine or reality in your life. What defines your true North? Are there any magnets throwing your compass off target?

Not a new religion but a new spiritual understanding of our current situation. Explore religious tradition with an open mind and see it anew.

BUY THE BOOK- God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher

LISTEN TO RELEVANT EPISODES- [Dramatic Adaptation] I Learn How To Tell When A Message Is From God [The Life Wisdom Project] Situational Attention [Two Philosophers Wrestle With God] How To Live: Part 1, Part 2 [What's On Your Mind] Articulating A Relationship With God

-Share your story or experience with God-

God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, is written by Dr. Jerry L. Martin, an agnostic philosopher who heard the voice of God and recorded their conversations.

The podcast began with the Dramatic Adaptation of the book and now has several series:

WATCH- God Are You Listening?

READ- An Inconvenient God

#thelifewisdomproject, #godanautobiography, #experiencegod

Share Your Story | Site | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube |

Scott Langdon [00:00:17] This is God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin. He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him. Episode 115.

Scott Langdon [00:01:04] Welcome to episode 115 of God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. I'm your host, Scott Langdon. And today we return to What's On Our Mind. Jerry and I were able to have a wonderful discussion this week as we reflected on the previous five episodes of our podcast, where we had our final Oxenberg dialogue in Episodes 110 and 111, a brand new Life Wisdom addition in Episode 113 with the fantastic Ray Silverman and a very meaningful What's On Your Mind episode last week. We talked this week about the common thread that seems to have run through each of the episodes as almost a theme- that of discernment. How do we decide if a message is from God? Is there a way to know that we can count on, that we can have faith in? Join us as we break down our spiritual journey with these issues. I hope you enjoy the episode. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Scott Langdon, and I'm here once again with Jerry Martin. Jerry, it's great to be with you. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:07] Well, good to be with you, Scott. And we have some interesting things to talk about again, I think. 

Scott Langdon [00:02:12] Yes. I really love when we get a chance to do this, What's On Our Minds because when I go back in and look at the episodes that we've recently done, well, first of all, one of the things that I've realized as we've put these episodes together, the ones that have been since the audio adaptation of the book concluded, because, you know, initially we had planned to do that, you know, make the audio adaptation of the book, and then that would be it, and we decided, hey we're going to keep going. And then we had the interviews with you and Abigail and other members and so forth. And then as we moved on and started developing these other programs like this one, What's On Our Minds, but What's On Your Minds and the Oxenberg Dialogues that we've been going through? I realized that--

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:02:59] One thing I like about our new Life Wisdom series is it's a very interesting way to revisit the original audio adaptation. You know, we're going through each one and thinking, well, not just what are we talking about or what was God saying, but how is this relevant to me and to our lives? What lessons can we draw from it? And so it's a very valuable revisiting in a different mode, you might say, than one might have originally listened to it. 

Scott Langdon [00:03:30] Right. Yes, absolutely. In our series, Two Philosophers Wrestle With God, that's the dialogue between you and Richard Oxenberg, which were done before we even thought about doing a podcast, which is interesting. I was certainly not on board at that point. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:03:47] No. It was our interest. It was just an interest. We weren't thinking of it ever being broadcast to anybody. We of course recorded them because they were of great interest to us. But it was because Richard Oxenberg had started reading the book online before it was published. And being an interesting thinker, you know, serious about religious topics and philosophical topics, he was full of questions. And so we started, well, why don't we meet regularly and discuss these questions? And that's the result- was the dialogue. 

Scott Langdon [00:04:26] And it was a great idea to do, and I'm so glad that you recorded it because we've been able to go in and listen again and edit and format them into what we've done this past year, which is two parts per dialogue and we've done 12 of the dialogues now. Those 12 dialogues, and we've made them in the episodes, and I think they've been really beneficial in terms of looking at the book from a philosophical / theological lens and set of lenses there, and you've talked about it on that level and it's been fantastic. We've also done these Life Wisdom episodes, as you mentioned, that are a revisit of the podcast, but also dig a little bit deeper into the book. I mean, so far we've had Jeanine and Ray and--. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:05:17] Jonathan. 

Scott Langdon [00:05:17] Yes. Jonathan Weidenbaum and all three of them have dug into the book as well as the podcast episode. So it's looking at it from that kind of everyday life. And then like last week's episode, which is another edition of What's On Your Mind, taking emails from folks who have been listening to the program or who have been reading the book and sharing their experiences of God with us. So it turned out as a teacher and you're, you know, as a former professor yourself, it sort of-- these fit into sort of what I call like a unit. When I was teaching the humanities classes, we had different units throughout the year and this sort of was Oxenberg dialogues, the Life Wisdom episode, the What's On Your Mind just sort of seems to fit into this little unit. And almost miraculously, I don't know what it is, but it seems that there's a thread that goes through each one of these episodes. And this week, as we're looking back, in a What's On Our Mind episode, I look back on episode 110 ,111, which are the Oxenberg Dialogues, 112 where we replayed episode four, which was going to be the focus of the Life Wisdom number four episode with Ray and and then a What's On Your Mind last week, they all have this thread, this theme of discernment, how to discern whether a message is from God, not just theologically and philosophically, but also in our everyday lives. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:06:52] Well, that's the crucial question. For me, this was an urgent question right at the beginning. Here I hear God speaking to me and it's too real and authentic to actually doubt. And yet I'm a philosopher, an epistemologist and what we do is question things. Do you really know what you think you know and what makes you think you really know it and so forth. And so this is what we do. And I thought, well, is there any way-- its almost as though one has a responsibility when you have an experience that's stunning to kind of check it out. And so I called, since I knew nothing about these religious issues at the time, I was just a pure philosopher, you know, secular type philosopher. I called a friend at a religious college and just posed this question: Has anybody written about how you tell if it's God? And he said- that's the first time I heard the word discernment in this connection - and he said, "Oh, yes, that's the problem of spiritual discernment." And it went on from there. And a lot of our people writing in have an issue of spiritual discernment. But I think what you're picking up on in these particular episodes is discernment is a much broader topic than just how do you know who– is God speaking to you? That's an urgent thing. But for most people, God isn't speaking words to them, at least not routinely, not regularly and at length. 

Scott Langdon [00:08:24] Right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:08:25] That's what happened to me. But, their feelings were always talked about in nudges and so forth, or where God is sending a message by putting a task in her path or by a friend saying something and that's God speaking to you. And just things like the voice of conscience and even I'm told, esthetic of a judgment. You know, these things have meanings. And how do you discern for moral meaning, the artistic meaning, the life meaning of anything that happens to you? And then in these discussions, just moment to moment in daily life, how do you decide something like one quote that came up in both of-- in two of these episodes, the very identical quote from the God book, and it was something about the challenge of knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. 

Scott Langdon [00:09:22] Yes. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:23] How many times has that question come up for us? It's kind of any time we're talking to anybody? It's should you go into this, should you be saying that, should you be challenging them or supporting them or what? And so when to speak, when to remain silent, which Ray discussed at some length, it's something he talks to students about. 

Scott Langdon [00:09:45] Yeah, I think he puts himself through a three point checklist, at least. I think, is it kind, first of all, which is really, you know, to start there, I think, is very interesting. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:09:59] Yes. 

Scott Langdon [00:10:00] Is it kind? Is it useful? And and then I think there might have been a third one or a subset of that one or was--

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:09] Is it true? Is it kind, is it true, and is it useful? 

Scott Langdon [00:10:11]  Useful. Right. That's it. Kind, true, useful. And then if it is useful, is it useful right now? Or do I maybe need to wait on this? Is it the appropriate time to say or to whatnot? I found that to be extremely helpful as well. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:10:28] Yes, Ray. I always call him life wisdom on two legs. A terrific discussion, I thought, as any discussion with Ray is, and those are very good lessons for all of us all the time. Again, how often does this come up? Speaking or staying silent or when to speak, how to speak... Is it going to be something kind to say? Well, that's a good thing to pause over, isn't it? And of course it should be truthful and then useful at the moment. Is this the right moment? I mean, these are all critical issues of discernment. 

Scott Langdon [00:11:06] The thing about discernment that Ray also picked up on, not just picked up on, but I think emphasized and he talked about this maybe without intending to, but he talked about it after he realized he was doing it as something that he does as a regular practice, and that was-- He mentioned when you were talking, he had had some ideas that were flooding into his mind as you were talking, and he realized something that he does often. And I realized right away, I do it, and I realize most of us probably do, is we try to think of the next thing we're going to say or the response to that or the comeback here or there. And it's not necessarily to get a one up on or anything or to, you know, downsize the other person. But just you're thinking about your response and you get lost in your thoughts. And obviously you can't listen and think of what you want to say at the same time, there's not room for those things. And so he realized he was going to have to set aside the things he had thought to say and just wanted to listen to you and then let what happens happen. I found that extremely interesting and useful and beneficial and all of those things. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:12:25] Yeah, there, it's almost a matter I felt, of his waiting to let God speak through me. I don't need to think up a bunch of smart things to say, though, sometimes you do, of course, but, okay, you think up all those things, then relax and just sort of go with the conversation and play off what the other person says or just what you feel comes to mind at that moment. You kind of trust, as I say, that there is a kind of little divine presence when you just let something come to mind without yourself trying to control it. An awful lot of our problems are about ego and control and the desire for those things. One way they manifest is that, and this is important to the topic of discretion in general, is people would like rules. It's insecure. What we just said is very insecure, isn't it? You know, to kind of go with the flow of the conversation, listen to the other person, say what comes into your mind. We want rules for discernment. How do you tell in advance as if you could have a litmus test? And I find it interesting that even though Ray often teaches out of the Ten Commandments, he always does it in this fluid way. You know, what forms of idolatry do you have in your life? And they say, well, procrastination, he said, that's the most frequent answer. So there are all kinds of forms of idolatry. So you go through those. One of the ways of honoring your parents, and when you honor them in part by trying to live up to the best of them, and so on. These are all questions that you pursue without fixed rules, and therefore you have to hone almost your spiritual capacities and your moral instincts, your moral intuitions, your esthetic intuition. What's the meaning of this? And then encounter what's the meaning of this encounter? If a person is being a problem in a meeting, kind of cranky and keeps interrupting. Trying to discuss one thing, this person keeps interrupting, you might pause and think, "Well, what's going on with this person?" Maybe this is a person who's feeling neglected. Or maybe there was something terrible that happened and you might just pause and say, you know, how is your day going up to this meeting? You know, who knows? There are no rules here. But you start thinking, wait. Wait. Rather than just being irritated, you might pause and just listen. And that's not a bad rule. You know, it's the first rule, the beginning section of the God book is certainly called Listen, that's listen to God, but since God also works through all of us, that's going to imply listening to one another. 

Scott Langdon [00:16:10] Episode four of our podcast is the episode that you and Ray talk about in our latest Life Wisdom episode number four, and we replay that episode in episode 112. And while I was putting that together and relistening to episode four, there's a lot to do with doubting and what God advises you to do with doubt. God says, "Don't worry about doubting unless it interferes with faith." I found it very interesting as a barrier place to have faith be the measure if doubting is starting to interfere with your faith. What do you take God to be saying there in terms of the meaning of faith, in this case- if it interferes with faith, what does that mean to you there? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:04] I'm glad you asked that, Scott, because I thought it might tend to be misleading. People often think of fate in such a context would mean my creed, the belief I'm clinging to. 

Scott Langdon [00:17:18] My belief system. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:17:19] Yeah, belief system. But there's also an idolatry of belief where you're not listening to God. You're just listening to your own group or your own dogmatism. You know, these are the 12 points of my belief, and that's going to hammer them through life no matter what comes up. No, it's not that. I think what faith stands for here is your relationship to the divine in whatever way you do that. And I use the divine. I think I believe in God and a theistic God, but whatever that fundamental reality is in your life, the reality that defines true North for you, don't let doubt interfere with that. Don't let doubt, like some magnet that comes in, throw your compass off target. You need to keep, you can ask, you have doubts, you need doubt, sometimes they're helpful. They can refine and clarify what you're doing, but don't be thrown off course, the course being your trajectory toward the divine. 

Scott Langdon [00:18:30] Well, when we talk about listening and raise an example of I have all these thoughts in my head as you're talking and I need to set them aside to really listen to you and then respond in faith is really what he's saying. I'm not going to-- I'm going to set aside the things I think I need to say. I'm going to hear you and then I'm going to allow God to speak through me in that, in a sense. Right? The conflict that I often have and perhaps other folks have it, too, is this notion that I don't want to get caught between being unprepared, being lazy, not doing the work, and trusting and stepping out in faith. So here's a perfect example. This episode that we're doing right now, I tried to do as much preparation and organizational work as I could do. Also trying to rely on the lessons that I've been learning that we're talking about right now, which is can I just in faith, listen to you and respond as God would have me respond? And it just kind of occurred to me, because I had a thought in my mind earlier that I didn't write down as you were talking. And I said, "No, let that go, okay. I'll come back to it if it's ready." And there was a long pause and I was like, What was that thought? And I couldn't think of it. And then I let it go and moved on to something new. And I just realized that wasn't what God wanted me to say then. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:20:05] Okay. 

Scott Langdon [00:20:07] Whatever it was that I was thinking of, and I can't even remember it now because it's gone. It's temporary. It's not me. It's not the essential nature of who I am. It's a thought that is an impermanent thing. But if it were worthy of this letting go and stepping out in faith, God will have-- we moved to a different direction. I'm trusting that's the direction God wanted us to move this conversation in. Does that make sense? It's happening in real time. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:20:34] Oh, yes, it is funny. And I-- one doesn't want to get overly magical about this. As though God will take care of it. 

Scott Langdon [00:20:43] Right, right. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:20:44]  Well, we have to do as I was always saying, we have to do the heavy lifting in life. Abigail says, my wife says, "God can't mail a letter." So certain things we need to be attending to, but what you describe, Scott, I know is exactly-- I've got a page of notes here, the only thing I actually referred to from them is the one quote that occurred, I was struck, occurred in two episodes and I wrote it down. And good thing I wrote it down because I wouldn't have remembered  it. And at one point it simply came up. If it hadn't come up, I wouldn't have thought, "Oh, I've got to get in that one quote." It came up. So that part of discernment is almost capturing the rhythms of life, and you do that. There's a book, I don't like Sartre, but it's called Surfing with Sartre. And the person uses surfing, I think, as a very good metaphor for life. And it's his account of freedom. Freedom isn't having no constraints. The surfer has constraints. You've got to respect the wave. Right? Otherwise you crash, but you surf the wave. You know, the wave is serving you. Sailing is like that, you tack to the wind and so forth. And a lot of life is moving with that feel of life. The Daoist are good at this. You know. It's not like going with the flow. They think the flow is fine. You don't need to worry over it. You don't need to plan it. Just stay in tune with it and you'll be doing the right thing. Well, relating to God is a lot like that. You just try to keep in tune with the divine as you're doing your other work, you might say, and pay attention to the moments, the rhythms of life as they come, the rhythms of the conversation, when to stay silent, when to speak up, when to change topics, all of these are part of the dance of life, you might call it. 

Scott Langdon [00:23:52] In episodes 110 and 111, we had parts one and two of the 12th dialogue between you and Dr. Richard Oxenberg and I've loved working on those dialogues, and this 12th one was the final one. And in this one you did almost sort of a life wisdom type of look at it again with Dr. Oxenberg and he brought up some really wonderful points in both episodes. But one of the things that came to my mind as I was preparing to talk to you today was how he kind of broke down the religious diversity, sort of in a quick nutshell with inclusivism, which basically says, you know, all of the religions kind of say the same thing, essentially, exclusivism where, you know, one's belief system, their religion is the only one, it's exclusive to that, pluralism, which basically says that all of the religions reflect some aspect of the divine in one picture, one aspect. But he thought there might be another, a fourth way, and he called it complementarism in which, if I remember correctly, each religion remains distinctive, but the religions learn from one another. Not only about, "Oh, that's something I did not know. And so I had an ignorance about your religion and now I know differently," which is great. But also, in examining someone else's religion, we might be able to learn more about our own. And you talked about, you know, in one tradition, you know, Krishna is dealt with often as a child, as a young person. And so in Christianity, Jesus, there's only one or two stories of Jesus as a child. And so, oh, maybe we could look at God as thought about as a child, a young boy-- all of these things that different religions might offer us. Have you encountered pushback about this idea in the sense that what you-- what I often heard growing up was "different strokes for different folks" is problematic and is dangerous and so forth. In your Theology Without Walls or other projects that you're moving forward with, has this been a complaint or a situation to be dealt with? 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:26:14] Well, not really. The theologians have trouble with it, and I've been trying to persuade theologians to do theology without walls, and they just don't quite know how to do that. And that's one reason I'm writing a book called Radically Personal about a way to do it. I'm just sharing my way of doing it. Of course, I'm following what I've received in prayer, but that's not my only source. We all live whole lives with many inputs. Everything we read and think and people we encounter and life experiences, good, bad and otherwise. So I would not-- I've spoken to an audience where there's someone who's an exclusivist, my way or the highway kind of view, who has objected strongly. Okay, I respect that point of view insofar as okay, that person is keeping that tradition going and that's an important function. The theologian Paul Tillich says there's always a conflict in any tradition between what he calls the priests and the prophets. Priests are the people who keep the religion going, who enact the rituals and keep the text, you know, the sacred text going and articulate the doctrines and so forth. The prophets are those who come along and object to just that. So they're there in a kind of creative tension with the priest. But you wouldn't even have a tension if everybody's running around being a prophet, you might say. So I've had audiences at one talk. I remember someone saying, "Well, shouldn't we just kind of like, get rid of the religions?" No, no. We wouldn't have any of this if we got rid of the religions. They're the ones who preserved the record of Buddha's enlightenment, of those tales of Krishna, of the gospel teachings, etc.. So we don't, no. No, we don't want to get rid of them, but there is a bigger message. And Richard Oxenberg's way of summing it up isn't bad, a complementarity. And I think something striking him at that point that is in the book, it's in that section, maybe it's the last chapter about the new Axial Age. We're in an era of spiritual transformation. And it had sounded to me as if, oh, well, then we're going to learn about each other and maybe each be enlight-- learned, add something, and then it would kind of be over. But God responded, "No, this will be a very creative process," because you don't just have, say, the Christian read the stories of Krishna and say, "Oh, isn't that interesting? And I now have this larger view adding stories of Krishna to my religious understanding." But it's going to be a new inputs. So you're going to somewhat rethink the gospels and you're going to somewhat rethink Krishna in light of the interaction. And your partner, also. We do this not in silence and isolation normally, but in dialogue with one another. And dialogue is productive, it's creative, and it has tensions as it should have. That's where the creativity comes from. So people who want you all to kumbaya, all just get along, all just marry each other, well, that has no creative development to it at all. And clearly, God: An Autobiography is calling for- this is the new age. It's really almost the revelation for this new Axial Age, which is not a revelation in the sense of starting a new religion, but it's a revelation, in the sense of opening up what is the spiritual understanding of our current situation? 

Scott Langdon [00:30:26] It seems like if one examines one's own religious tradition with those lenses, it would be hard not to see it anew. I know I see one's religious, own religious tradition anew with those new lenses. Because when I look at my religious tradition of Christianity, I see the Gospels completely differently now as a result of, for example, knowing about the Dao, which I'd heard about over here in a thing called the Tao, but really now started to dig into it, and what is it and what is the way? What does the way mean? And then when Jesus says, "I am the way." What is that? What does that mean? I comma, Jesus, comma am the way. No, he didn't say that. So what is-- can we dig further? How does it relate to the Dao and then a deeper understanding of what Jesus might be saying in all of the Gospel of John, for example, where all of the I am statements are-- I had such a difficult time with the gospel of John. I always separated it. Didn't know what to do with it because, you know, and a lot of the biblical scholars separate it as well, it was written at a different time, and to a different audience. And all of those things are true coming at it now with a different understanding of, for example, what the way means and what Jesus might have been saying when Jesus is talking about the way, and now when we say, "Hey, Jesus is the way," perhaps it's not as exclusivistic as we've always thought it was. And that shut me down from Christianity that I could not deal with the exclusivism. But now I feel like I interpret that differently. And it's this sort of complimentalism, because I'm not trying to say everything says the same thing, and yet I've always known that my good friends who are Jewish and really, you know, significantly seeking God in that tradition were not in vain. It wasn't-- That was what I was getting was, "Oh, they're not really seeking God." And I couldn't believe that because I knew they were. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:32:35] Yes, that's right. And if we didn't have the Jews, we wouldn't have either the Christians or the Muslims. 

Scott Langdon [00:32:41] Right. Well, sure. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:32:42] The first record is the record of Israel's dramatic history with God. And that's where it begins. And, you know, you can't really knock out the first chapter and have chapters two and three still make good sense. 

Scott Langdon [00:32:59] Mm hmm. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:32:59] So, there are these many ways and each one achieves what it achieves, but is it complete? Well, probably not. And of course, the answer of God: An Autobiography is, well, God has these many aspects. And God showed, manifested, one aspect or common set of aspects to each culture. And I asked, well, why not just give the whole story to all of them? And I was told that would be more than they could bear or well act on. And He says, "I gave the people of Israel an historic task. The Covenant, the Ten Commandments, the other particular religious commandments, that's a valid task, keeping the covenant is a valid task. But it wouldn't make sense to say and also go through the Atman that is Brahman, you know, access Me that way. And in fact, of course, the message of God: An Autobiography in part that's so strange to our ears these days is well God was learning as He did it. 

Scott Langdon [00:34:11] Yes. Yes.

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:34:11] As God would show a side to Himself or people would respond to the side they were picking up on and God would say-- It happens in the Old Testament when Abraham challenges God in this story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Are you going to wipe off the whole town? What if there's some righteous people there? And Abraham is saying, basically, "Look, you're God. You're supposed to be the measure of justice, so live up to that." And God finally, they argue back and forth and God finally relents. They negotiate, and, well, if there are ten good men, then I'll save them.But the other stories are very similar of each tradition that God comes to realize, and it's not so much it like dawns on God, but God finds there is this role that God then grows into the role, and that often happens to young people in life. They find they're good at being funny. They end up comics, but they didn't start out at the age of eight. Oh- I'm going to be a comedian. They just find things out of their mouths or their body language. People tend to like and enjoy it and okay- I'm good at this. So a lot of it is just you discover as you go along in life a lot of what your aspects are. Some of them are weaknesses and you try to take that into account, but a lot of them are what your talents are and what you offer other people. You discover that from their reaction. 

Scott Langdon [00:35:52] Yeah, I think about my dog Watson. He is a seven year old lab, 70% lab. And, you know, we've worked together since he was a puppy. I got him when he was ten weeks old, and I didn't know anything about dog training. Didn't know, you know, but kind of picked up some things along the way and worked with him out, you know, in the park and things. And somebody came up to me at one point and said, "Oh, you know, you're a really great trainer with your dog. I love how you've trained your dog." You know. And it's like, "Oh, thank you." And we talked a minute and that person laughed and I thought, "Oh, I guess I'm a dog trainer."

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:36:31] Exactly. That's a wonderful example.

Scott Langdon [00:36:34] You know, I didn't think about it as I'm going to be a dog trainer. I just loved my dog and wanted to spend quality time and protect him by having him, you know, understand commands and so forth. And that relationship grew into, in one sense, part of my identity. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:36:52] Yes, it does. And you discover and discover / develop parts of your identity. Because the discovery of the development occurs simultaneously as you actualize these aspects yourself. And God is actualizing God's self in relation to the people in the different cultures. And that's recorded, of course, in their sacred texts and in other traditions and certain narratives and so forth. But that's an amazing fact about the world, and that's why, as I say, I realized when I was wondering, why is God giving me all of this? These revelations would not have made sense 100 years ago, maybe not even 50 years ago. We now have this global world where we're in a communication system and we all know what everybody is thinking around the globe, and we all have access to the same sources. And it happens with greater mobility because of transportation changes, but certainly in a country like the United States, but I think in Europe and a lot of other places, we have people from all different religious traditions in the same city. So you know them personally. You know, it's not just the internet, the information superhighway that gives you information about the Hindus. The Hindu is a coworker. 

Scott Langdon [00:38:21] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:38:23] The mosque is down the corner, you know?  

Scott Langdon [00:38:27] And for me during the pandemic, you know, one of the ways I learn most effectively is video and audio. And so during the pandemic, I spent a lot of time on YouTube and a lot of folks do nowadays in terms of all kinds of needs, wants and desires. If I want to figure out how to change a battery in my car, I go on to YouTube and put "how to change battery in my car," and Steve from a suburb in Detroit somewhere is like, "Here's how you change the batteries." And you're like, "Oh, okay." And I'll never maybe, you know, meet, quote unquote, meet Steve in real life. But Steve has done something and put something out there that helps me and makes my life better. And it's just this modern technology that, you know, we've talked about this before, how I'm crazy about this time we live in. It's amazing and blows my mind. But that's the place where you've just talked about. We've developed, God has developed along with us, in tandem with us, to a place where now we can have this sort of next level Axial Age, as was described. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:39:37] So the world is ready for a spiritual explosion, you might say. How did a-- that's a kind of negative metaphor-- but efflorescence, I don't know. Blossoming? 

Scott Langdon [00:39:51] Big Bang. 

Dr. Jerry L. Martin [00:39:52] A Big Bang, another Big Bang. But it's ready for this dramatic spiritual broadening, deepening the result of which, is that each individual can have a more richer and more adequate relation to the divine by understanding it better, by learning from the spiritual techniques of different cultures, the spiritual disciplines. Can both pray and meditate, and there are more than one type of prayer, there's more than one type of meditation, and there are probably some other spiritual disciplines I'm forgetting to list here. But we can become more adequate spiritual creatures with a more adequate relation to the divine because of the era we live in. 

Scott Langdon [00:40:54] Thank you for listening to God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. Subscribe for free today wherever you listen to your podcasts and hear a new episode every week. You can hear the complete dramatic adaptation of God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin, by beginning with episode one of our podcast and listening through its conclusion with Episode 44. You can read the original true story in the book from which this podcast is adapted. God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher, available now at Amazon.com, and always at godanautobiography.com. Pick up your own copy today. If you have any questions about this or any other episode, please email us at questions@godanautobiography.com and experience the world from God's perspective as it was told to a philosopher. This is Scott Langdon. I'll see you next time.

Introduction
A Thread Of Discernment
The Question Of Spiritual Discernment
Is It Kind | Is It True | Is It Useful?
Listening, Obedience, And Doubt
Theology Without Walls | A New Spiritual Axial Age
Religious Exclusivism
Aspects Of Beings And Identity
Is The World Ready?
Outro And Contact Information