Why I Believe in God but Not Fairies: Energy-itself as God

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on March 8, 2016

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

The Golf Gods: Towards a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Why I Believe in God but Not Fairies: Energy-Itself as God

In my religious philosophy of Golf, I have referred to God as Energy-itself, Reality-itself, Being-itself, and even Becomingness-itself, the essence behind all that is or the “Isness” of all that is. I recently found myself in the position of defending why we should refer to Energy-itself as God. Being familiar with the history of the philosophy of religion, equating God with the energy behind the unfolding of universe was not strange or unusual. I can understand, though, that those with a different understanding of God may question such an identification. I write, then, to explain why Energy-itself or Reality-itself may be identified as God.

Firstly, God has ordinarily been associated with the creation of the universe. Energy-itself is the creative force behind all that is. Without Energy-itself, there would be no energies. Without Reality-itself, there would be no realities. Without Being-itself, there would be no beings. Without “Isness,” nothing is.  Energy-itself is that without which nothing would be (the sine qua non or “without which not”). Being-itself is the reason for being (the raison d’etre or “reason for being”). Being-itself, in the manner of Paul Tillich, is “the ground of all being.” Energy-itself is the creative force behind the evolution of the universe and, therefore, may be referred to as God.

Secondly, God has consistently been conceived of as eternal, without beginning and without end. Being-itself, by very definition, “cannot not be.” Reality-itself “cannot be unreal.” If there were ever a time when there were absolutely nothing, then there would be nothing now. From absolute nothingness, comes absolutely nothing. Since there is something now, something, in some form, must have always been, and that something that has always been is Energy-itself. Further, since there is something now, there can never be a time of absolute nothingness. “Somethingness” cannot give way to absolutely nothing. Something, in some form, must always be, and the something that must always be is Energy-itself.

I often challenge my students to conceive of absolutely nothing. The image I most commonly elicit is the image of dark empty space. I remind my students, though, that dark empty space is something. I suggest that the fact that they cannot conceive of absolute nothingness is an indication that there is no such actuality. In the words of Alfred North Whitehead, in Modes of Thought, “… everything is something, which in its own way is real. When you refer to something as unreal, you are merely conceiving a type of reality to which the ‘something’ does not belong.” Absolute nothingness is real as an idea, but not real as an actuality. Fairies are real as ideas, but not as actualities.  Energy-itself is real as the eternal grounding for all energies, both ideas and actuals, and, therefore, may be referred to as God.

Thirdly, God has often been conceived as omnipresent, present in everything and everywhere. Energy-itself permeates all things; it flows through the universe. To borrow from William Wordsworth, Energy-itself is “deeply interfused” with all reality, “impels … all objects of all thought,” or “rolls through all things” (from “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”). As the power of being present everywhere and in everything, Being-itself may be referred as God.

Admittedly, there is one major attribute traditionally granted to God that Energy-itself does not exhibit, namely, the attribute of omnipotence in the sense of having the ability to unilaterally control the actual course of events. Yes, Energy-itself is the power of being in all that is and, in that sense, is omnipotent or all powerful, but Being-itself is not omnipotent in the sense of having the capability to unilaterally control the actual course of events.

Energy-itself or Reality-itself, is the structure of reality, and the structure of reality necessarily inheres certain components. These components are necessarily concomitant or constituent with Reality-itself. They, too, “cannot not be.” One of the structural components of reality-itself is a certain measure of self-determination or self-creativity. The measure of self-creativity manifest in humanity is great enough to merit the word “freedom” as a descriptor. In nature, though, the measure of self-determination may be negligible, and a descriptor like “spontaneity” may be appropriate. Humans can freely choose while rocks may merely react. Nevertheless, some measure of self-creativity is necessarily inherent to every expression of reality, and that necessity of self-determination owes itself to the very structure of reality. Each expression of reality is a center of power with its own freedom or spontaneity. Reality-itself cannot be construed as having the ability to violate or negate the self-creativity of finite realities, for, to do so, would be a negation of the structure of reality. Since Reality-itself necessarily involves a measure of self-creativity, this self-creativity cannot be nullified. Reality-itself cannot prevent or negate that of which it consists. A certain measure of self-determination is a requisite of existence. The power of Being-itself requires or guarantees that every “being,” to some degree, has its own power.

Reality-itself may be conceived of as a persuasive power, moving the universe onward to greater “complexifications,” but not a brute power that can, by itself alone, alter or control the actual course of events. Reality-itself may work through or with realities to actualize desirable goals. Such is the persuasive power of evolution urging us on to grander harmonies — higher levels of beauty, perfection, and goodness.

Further, Energy-itself cannot be construed as “a being.” Energy-itself may express itself as personable, but Energy-itself is not a person. Energy-itself may express itself in consciousness, but Energy-itself is not an individual. If “God” refers to “a being,” then Energy-itself does not qualify. If, however, “God” refers to ultimate reality, then Energy-itself most certainly qualifies.

Yes, I understand that Energy-itself is an understanding of God that may be different from the concept typically proffered in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. On the other hand, it is also a concept of God similar to what has been set forth from within Judaism (e.g., Benedict Baruch Spinoza) and within Christianity (e.g., Paul Johannes Tillich). Though I am unfamiliar with a similar concept of God from within Islam, it would not surprise me if there were such. The notion of Energy-itself as the ultimate principle of the universe is certainly a philosophical concept that has been entertained in the Hindu philosophy of India and in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism.

This concept of Energy-itself as “God” may be referred to as “empirical theology” or “natural theology,” a construction in which the concept of God becomes grounded in that which is real, tangible, and demonstrable. God is conceived of in terms of the natural world rather than in terms of a supernatural being.

This concept of God may also be referred to as panentheism (“all in God” or, conversely, “God in all”). Panentheism refers to the notion that God participates in all things, and that all things participate in God. In this case, Energy-itself is the energy behind all energies. Being-itself is the being grounding all beings. Reality-itself is the reality of all realities.  God impels all things, rolls through all things, flows through all things.  God is conceived in terms that can be described as more immanent and less transcendent.

Energy-itself is a concept of God that fulfills fundamental requirements for God. Energy-itself is the source and sustainer of all that is, the creative power behind the universe. Energy-itself is limitless in both space and time, the eternal unbounded fundament of all that is. Energy-itself, in other words, is eternal and everywhere. As the eternal, creative, and permeating power of the universe, Energy-itself qualifies as God. Energy-itself is that which is ultimate, and that which is ultimate equates to “God.”

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

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Two-Pop Bob

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on July 14, 2015

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Huck Tales


Two-Pop Bob

One of our fellow Hucks, whom we shall call Howie, plays in a few member-guests tournaments at various locations throughout the year. In a recent event, Howie played with a friend in Atlanta. According to Howie, “it’s a good thing he’s a friend because I wouldn’t play golf with him otherwise.” He is a terrible golfer with about a thirty-six handicap. He gets two shots a hole; we will call him Two-Pop Bob.

The first round of the tournament seemed to breach the boundaries of eternity. Golf-ball hunts and questionable rulings abounded. Howie, a golf purist, was not happy. Two-Pop Bob was hitting more than one ball off of almost every tee, and on some tees he was having to hit three or four just to get one in play.

On the seventeenth hole, Two-Pop Bob hit his first ball out of bounds to the right, his second ball out of bounds to the left, and his third ball somewhere into the unknown. Howie saw the fourth ball land, but Two-Pop Bob was not convinced the ball could be found. So, Bob prepared to hit a fifth tee shot, at which point Howie, exhausted and frustrated, said, “Stop Bob! Stop! Do not hit another ball! I saw your last ball land; we can find it. Get in the cart, and let’s go!”

Howie drove Two-Pop Bob down to the ball, pointed at it, and sternly told Bob, “that’s your ball. Hit it!” Bob got out of the cart, walked over to the ball, bent down, took a good look at it, and said, “That’s not my ball.” Howie responded, “that is your ball. I saw it land right here. Hit your ball!” Bob looked again and said, “That’s not my ball; that’s your ball.” Howie, increasingly agitated and pointing to his ball further down the way, said, “Bob, my ball is up there. This is your ball. I saw you hit it, and I saw it land right here.” Two-Pop Bob replied, “Nope, this is your ball. I ran out of my balls four holes ago. I’ve been playing out of your bag since thirteen. This is your ball alright.” Howie was speechless.

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

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Get in the Cart!: When Golfers Reach Their Limits

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on May 9, 2015

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Huck Tales


Get in the Cart!:

When Golfers Reach Their Limits

All upper level golfers have had those days when they bend to the will of relatives or friends to play golf with those whose abilities are somewhat diminished. Those days are typically grueling, filled with hunts for lost balls and questions about rules. A foursome of this nature is difficult enough; consider, then, the appeal of a fivesome on a hot summer day.

During the dog days of summer, Fuji, myself, and three others (a father and two sons) ventured forth on a round of golf. One of the sons, whom we shall call Joe, was a good player. The other son and father, however, required a lot of strokes to negotiate the journey. We looked for balls, waited for practice swings, rendered yardages, read putts; and about five hours later, we arrived at the seventeenth hole. The day had taken its toll. Fuji, Joe, and I were ready to be done. We could see the clubhouse, with its store of “forget-about-it juice,” from the seventeenth green.

Seventeen is a “BALL BUSTER,” a lengthy par three featuring a green cushioned by bunkers on two sides and water on three sides. The bunkers and lakes, and combinations thereof, frequently ruin one’s otherwise good score.

Joe’s father, whom we shall call Kent, hit his tee ball left of the green and into the water. Due to where his ball entered the water, Kent was forced by rule to drop a ball for his next shot on the far side of a finger of water. He then plopped his third shot into that finger of water. He dropped again for what would be his fifth shot. Kent managed to clear the water this time, but not the bunker. Kent’s ball buried itself underneath the lip of the bunker next to the green. The rest of us, by this time, had become a bit impatient. The threads were wearing thin. Kent, however, climbed into the bunker and began examining what would be his sixth shot. Kent inquired, “Fuji, how would you hit this shot?” Fuji took off his hat, leaned back, and scratched his head. “KENT, IF THAT WERE MY BALL, I’D PICK THAT BITCH UP AND GET IN THE GOD DAMN CART!”

Kent did not heed Fuji’s advice; he made a nice eight on the hole. An expression, though, was born that day. The Hucks adhere to a triple-bogey maximum, and whenever a player reaches two over par, the Hucks will inevitably invite him to “GET IN THE CART!”

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

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Rain Man Loses Control Again

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on April 18, 2015

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Huck Tales


Rain Man Loses Control Again

In case readers missed the previous occasion when Rain Man lost control, they may find the story at the following link http://wp.me/P1m9Pp-DT. As my title suggests, Rain Man struck again. In contrast to the movie character after whom he earned his nickname, our Rain Man is not an “excellent driver.”

Recently, a couple of the Hucks got electric pull/push carts with remote controls. They wanted to get some exercise, but they did not want to carry their bags. I suppose it takes time to become accustomed to how the remotes and the carts operate. Yesterday (4/18/2015) Rain Man had a little issue on the eighteenth hole. Not yet an expert with the remote, Rain Main sent his pull/push cart over (yes, over) the eighteenth green and into the bunker on the back left. He got his “stop” and his “go” a little confused. Fortunately, this time, Rain Man had already eaten his spinach and apples.

The Hucks were their normally supportive selves. Metro rushed over to get some pictures.

Rain Main Loses Control Again Rain Main Loses Control Again

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

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Hioism: A Religion of Golf

January 3, 2015

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Hioism: A Religion of Golf Golf, I have strongly argued, can be construed as a religion. Religion is a symbol system for expressing that which is ultimate; and, in so far as Golf provides such a symbol system, Golf […]

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Man Down: Part Four, or Mayhem

November 15, 2014

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Huck Tales Man Down: Part Four, Or Mayhem Every fall, near the end of October, the Hucks make a pilgrimage to play golf at Cuscowilla, on Lake Oconee, in north Georgia. Cuscowilla, or Cusci for short, is an appealing […]

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The Hucks Through The Years

December 11, 2013

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf The Hucks Through the Years                         Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf  

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Book Review: Funny (but true) Golf Anecdotes

August 12, 2013

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Book Review: Funny (but true) Golf Anecdotes: about Tiger, Phil, Bubba, Rory, Rickie, Jack, Arnie, and all the rest. See Roybob’s Ball Rating System Dick Crouser, Funny (but true) Golf Anecdotes, Meadowbrook Press, New York, 2012. The title describes […]

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Book Review: The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry

May 23, 2013

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Book Review: The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry See Roybob’s Ball Rating System M. R. Henderson, The World’s Only Collection of Great Golf Poetry, Aldis Publishing Co., Los Angeles, 2007. The very title of the book reveals […]

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Book Review: Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

May 6, 2013

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf Book Review: Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game See Roybob’s Ball Rating System Joseph Parent, Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game, Doubleday, New York, 2002. All the major religions of the world have divisions and subdivisions, and Buddhism, the […]

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