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What is the nature of the divine?

 
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 08:53 pm
@prothero,
how come this thread is about creationism or creation science? Who introduced that idea? "Theology" and "Creation Science" are not interchangeable. 'Theology" has nothing to say whatever about the material causes of existence. It operates mainly on a symbolic or mythic plane. "Creation Science" is a distortion of religious doctrine and bears little or no relationship with traditional theology.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 09:10 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98202 wrote:
'Spiritualism' is not a word I am familiar with, although it conjures notions of sceances and mediums. Theology is something else again. I know it has fallen into disfavour in these scientific times but I still believe it is a meaningful subject, particulary in connection with this topic. Philosophical analysis is another type of understanding and one that is valid in its own right, as well, but when it comes to the 'nature of the divine' or 'transcendent realities' there might be other types of insights required in addition to those offered by philosophical analysis.

:


About whether religion offers another insight (whatever that comes to) I don't want to offer an opinion. I wanted only to point out that it is not true that the only alternative to scientism was spiritualism, or religion, but that there is also philosophical analysis. I am very dubious about the notion that views are "valid in their own right". It is not as if different views are hermetically sealed against criticism.
0 Replies
 
Ruggedtouch
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 09:11 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98183 wrote:

As regards religion and science - of course science has shown us many facts about the nature of reality which ancient cultures had no conception of. It is neverhteless culturally chauvinistic to assert that because of what we know now, we can write off the whole spiritual tradition of the West as supersition or backwardnesss. Of course this is a big bandwagon at the moment, but I want no part of it. What does have to happen is that the tradition has to be re-imagined, re-intepreted and understood again in terms of what we know now. Because it is a fact that no matter what we know, there will always be a certain layer of understanding that eludes us. Metaphysical questions will remain metaphysical, regardless of what we know about atoms, particles, genes, dna and the rest. It operates at a different level of explanation but to cling to science as the sole means of knowledge is not science, but scientism, which at the end of the day is just another species of fundamentalism.

I'll focus on your second paragraph while leaving the first perhaps for a later time. Ultimately, the metaphysical (and I'll focus on the Judeo-Christian god in particular), is described as "omni-everything". One of those omni's is ultimate mercy. If I were "infinitely merciful" there would be no act that could possibly circumvent my infinite mercy. The comparisons to humans don't ever work, even as an illustration, because theists insist on a perfect and ultimate and unlimited god. Infinite love and mercy should be what it is-- infinite love and mercy. Eternal damnation is a contradiction to those attributes, and there is no way to reconcile a god who establishes amorality as morality. Case in point:


I wouldn't set up a test for my children that was impossible for them to pass, purposely tempt them, and when they did fail it I wouldn't curse my children, and their children, and their children and their children and...

I wouldn't drown them all.

I wouldn't be the general of some of them and order some of them to put others to the sword -- but keep the female virgins for their pleasure.

I wouldn't create a Satan and allow him any power over my children.

I wouldn't create a hell and condemn my children to it forever, even if they did call me names and spit on me and hurt me or didn't acknowledge me.

I wouldn't allow vials to be poured out carrying disease and death and destruction.

The list of things this "loving father" does is horrifying in the extreme. You may think that bashes him, but I didn't write the book that describes him doing such things, remember?

I'll be accused of "religion-bashing" by some more than likely, of being "prideful and vain" by pointing these things out, but it all comes down to what is more likely, so consider the following:


A god created existence in only 6 days, but did so in such a way to make it look immensely old and left massive clues to support that belief... and this god put forth a test to only two humans without(at least in terms of the Judeo-Christian god) giving them neither the ability to make a considered choice nor did he bother to tell them the consequences would extend to every person born after them... and this god then inspired a book but did not allow the original to last in case the condemned to damnation by definition humans worship those texts... and allowed copies of copies to multiply so that huge civilizations would clash with one another over interpretations... and this god then comes down to earth as a human to act as a mediator to experience human weakness and pain and sin that he created in the first place anyway, and he's letting billions upon billions of people suffer thusly and choose eternal damnation on an ongoing basis in order to satisfy this need to experience the aforementioned... and finally in a climactic battle wherein agony and suffering will spread over the globe this god will battle his nemesis that he himself created and could blink to make disappear if he really wanted to...

OR

Existence is natural, patterns form out of the exchange of energy, life evolved in some places, competition for that life implemented social structures, sentience ignited that social structure to a more and more complicated degree... and allowed for technology to extend the perceptions of humans to further and further reaches, chipping away at old, perhaps poetic and elegant but nonetheless outdated beliefs created by a ruling class that knew the power of ignorance and fear in people made them vastly more controllable?

Just a side note - we see stars forming today by the way, in the Pleiades-- various stages of stars being formed are quite visible. Knowing the speed of light one can measure distances, showing billions of years is required to establish the size and distances we see.

0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 09:24 pm
@prothero,
I don't agree with your interpretation of theology. As I remarked before, I don't wish to go into bat for Christian theology, but I think your opinions on the matter are very much your own. Suffice it to say that we are discussing age-old mythological accounts of creation, and there is considerable room for interpretation as to what, if anything, they mean. You have offered one interpretation but there are many others.

I accept the scientific account of the development of the earth, and of the life on it, but there are many ways of interpreting its significance, whether this is any purpose to it, or not, whether there is a moral law, or not, and many other questions which are completely outside and beyond the scope of science. Science does not own all the questions, nor all the answers.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 09:36 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98227 wrote:
I don't agree with your interpretation of theology. As I remarked before, I don't wish to go into bat for Christian theology, but I think your opinions on the matter are very much your own. Suffice it to say that we are discussing age-old mythological accounts of creation, and there is considerable room for interpretation as to what, if anything, they mean. You have offered one interpretation but there are many others.

I accept the scientific account of the development of the earth, and of the life on it, but there are many ways of interpreting its significance, whether this is any purpose to it, or not, whether there is a moral law, or not, and many other questions which are completely outside and beyond the scope of science. Science does not own all the questions, nor all the answers.


It is not that science owns anything. But it is still true that even if there are many "interpretations" as you call them, no interpretation is immune from scientific criticism. Nor, more importantly, is any interpretation immune from logical criticism, as for example, the demand for evidence for any particular interpretation. Even in the case of art or music, interpretations need to undergo rational justification; why this interpretation rather than that. How much more so in the case of the nature of things? Why should one accept this rather than that interpretation? This is the universal test of rationality.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 09:42 pm
@prothero,
Well I agree with that too. That is why I spent the better part of 5 years studying comparitive religion, anthropology, and many years of reading in related subjects. Certainly nothing should be immune from criticism. But valid, reasoned criticism is not the same as taking pot-shots from the sidelines based on one's personal and often completely idiosyncratic views on the nature of Deity and almost no understanding (and zero interest) in hermeneutics and scriptural interpretation (not that I am saying you are doing that, but it does happen a lot.)
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 09:54 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98232 wrote:
Well I agree with that too. That is why I spent the better part of 5 years studying comparitive religion, anthropology, and many years of reading in related subjects. Certainly nothing should be immune from criticism. But valid, reasoned criticism is not the same as taking pot-shots from the sidelines based on one's personal and often completely idiosyncratic views on the nature of Deity and almost no understanding (and zero interest) in hermeneutics and scriptural interpretation (not that I am saying you are doing that, but it does happen a lot.)


I agree that criticism should be intelligent and informed. Who would deny that? But, an interpretation is only an interpretation. It is not valid (or invalid) simply because it is an interpretation. To say there are "other valid interpretations" begs the question.
0 Replies
 
desicobra
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 10:54 pm
@prothero,
Well if you treat God as someone who is finite in both aspect and capability, then God is not supreme. But if God is infinite his aspect can neither be quantified by any means nor fully comprehended. In order for most people to believe in a supreme being they usually say that their God is infinite. therefore if you acknowledge that a God exists (or could exist) that he is infinite then any attempt to comprehend his existence with our limited capabilities of our sense organs (even if one considers the third eye a sense organ) then the most anyone will ever be able to say is that he/ she is an agnostic.
Believing in any supreme master of the universe requires a leap of faith at one point or another. I think most people just would prefer to jump over a small crevice rather than a canyon (which is what faith basically requires in my opinion).
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 11:05 pm
@desicobra,
desicobra;98239 wrote:
Well if you treat God as someone who is finite in both aspect and capability, then God is not supreme. But if God is infinite his aspect can neither be quantified by any means nor fully comprehended. In order for most people to believe in a supreme being they usually say that their God is infinite. therefore if you acknowledge that a God exists (or could exist) that he is infinite then any attempt to comprehend his existence with our limited capabilities of our sense organs (even if one considers the third eye a sense organ) then the most anyone will ever be able to say is that he/ she is an agnostic.
Believing in any supreme master of the universe requires a leap of faith at one point or another. I think most people just would prefer to jump over a small crevice rather than a canyon (which is what faith basically requires in my opinion).
I think your conception of the nature god or of the divine needs to correspond to your conception of the nature of the world. As our conception of the world has changed through the application of the methods of science (the age of reason and enlightenment) our conception of god will need to change as well to avoid cognitive dissonance.

I think religion is currently experiencing cognitive dissonance: the traditional notions and concepts do not correspond to our other notions of the nature of reality. Among the concepts that may need to go is the notion of "supernatural" action by the divine and the Greek philosophical eternal, immutable, impassive, changeless, omnipotent, omniscient notions of perfection. God as a divine tyrant, ruler or judge is no longer a useful or tenable concept.

God as the ground of all being, the essence of existence, the source of all possible value who struggles and suffers for the sake of creation and is in loving persuasive relationship to the world is one possible notion of the divine that is not in direct conflict with science. It is still speculative metaphysics and for those who have no need for transcendent values or aesthetics or to see purpose and aim in the universe an unnecessary postulate.

---------- Post added 10-17-2009 at 10:25 PM ----------

I think to come at the question of the nature of the "divine" as a scientific question is to look at the question wrong; using the wrong paradigm. It is not a scientific question.

Most claims about the nature of the divine can not be empirically verified. They are not comprehensible statements according to logical positivism.

In language analysis, or analytic philosophy speculations about the divine are "meaningless or nonsense statements".

Nevertheless religion which includes speculations and assumptions about the nature of the divine and divine action in the world remains prominent in all cultures and society, so in terms of its effects and its reality in the world religion and spirituality is significant. Most people are natural born theists about 90% of the any population believes in god or some higher power.

Science is a powerful tool for understanding the material and physical aspects of nature and science has dramatically altered our conception and knowledge of the nature of the universe. Science however (appears to have) (at least at the current time does have), limitations with respect to human experience, values and aesthetics. The majority of people are in fact more concerned with values and aesthetics than they are with the details of the material aspects of reality. People fight and die for such abstract notions as (freedom, righteous, love, truth and beauty) few people risk much over the elusive particles of high energy physics. Subjective truth is where human passions lie and in this realm science is of limited utility.

[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] I suppose the best thing to do then is to let the Theists make their own claims regarding beliefs as I will present mine. Anyway, I'll ask an indulgence so as to address your comments in the broad brush as opposed to identifying each comment. [/QUOTE] In general you seem to feel a scientific worldview is incompatible with a religious or spiritual worldview. I would say certain religious assertions are incompatible but to make the assumption that religion and science in all forms are incompatible is unjustified.


[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] First, let me make the frighteningly obvious point that most of the debate regarding as you described: "The range of conceptions of the divine" is not a question of evidence, and it should be, but rather one of chosen interpretation. We are drawn to one analytical framework or another. I will attempt to explain why it is that I prefer the abio/evolutionary framework over the spiritual. [/QUOTE] I think it is wrong to assume that evolution is incompatible with religion or spirituality. There are many religious scientists and biologists. They most often believe in some form of naturalistic theism or theistic evolution but they accept the general paradigm of evolution.


[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] The first reason is tired and old, but one that became so precisely because it bears repeating; naturalistic explanations that have passed through the filter of the scientific method or that are at least founded upon reasonable inductive hypotheses based on the available evidence have proven again and again to be far superior to any other method in bringing us to a better understanding of the universe, life, and even our place in it. [/QUOTE] And I think taking account of our scientific understanding of the universe is important in creating any rational metaphysical assumptions about the nature or role of the divine. It would be wrong however to say that science excludes the possibility of god or the divine. It would in fact be unscientific to say so. For science is partly based on skepticism, speculation, imagination and a tentative notion of truth.


[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] Physiology and psychology began the evisceration of metaphysics as the province of philosophy and theology (although it is only right to recognize the extensive assistance of both philosopher and theologian in this task) and carried much of this lofty battle to a less friendly scientific arena where rude physical truths must be accounted for. In a similar way the development of the scientific method and the consensus it brings, combined with the academic and intellectual freedoms of the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, and left less and less room for literal interpretations of any creation stories. [/QUOTE] And no one on this thread is yet supporting the idea of a young earth, special creation or even supernatural divine intervention.


[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] It does us well to remember that [/QUOTE]
Ruggedtouch;98211 wrote:
Darwin was not operating in an intellectual vacuum regarding an old earth. The prevailing scientific viewpoint was that the earth was extremely old by the 1800s, which was at odds with a literal interpretation of the bible.
Darwin is indebted and somewhat limited to the intellectual climate and assumptions of his time. The idea of an old earth is critical to evolution and Darwin was well aware of it. Rational theology would not ignore the age of the universe, evolution, mass extinctions or any other scientific fact in formulating a coherent consistent theory of the nature of the divine.


[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] The second reason is to some extent predicated on the first - as naturalism has had such coruscating success, why place limits on what it might achieve? Introducing supernaturalism into the picture is an unnecessarily limiting factor, particularly when the existence of this creator is itself speculative. Some would argue that this is a contradictory position to take; that locking out the divine from the picture is blinkered thinking. But I have yet to see a convincing argument as to how allowing for supernatural creation really advances our understanding. Without a plausible framework to show us how we are to know the sculptors hand or understand the tools that he used, it is futile. [/QUOTE] One is not placing limits on the application of science to furthering scientific knowledge. One is not necessarily claiming that god acts through "supernatural" mechanism as opposed to through nature and natural law. One is questioning the assumption that natural laws are deterministic and that evolution is a "blind, purposeless" process. Science does not address purposes or aims but speculative metaphysics does. Science does not tell us that ultimate reality is confined to physicalism or that "matter" is inert and insensate.

[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] Is this approach hubris? Is it misplaced pride? I don't believe so, if we proceed such that human knowledge is still paltry and unsure, especially when compared to the vast spans of energy, matter, and time that encompass us. We have made some astounding discoveries and gained some amazing insights into the fundamentals of nature, but there is so much left to be discovered and it may never be possible to answer the most significant questions with any certainty. Even the purest realms of deductive reasoning are bounded by the rules of their own systems. Knowledge, evidence, inductive or deductive reasoning aren't absolute. [/QUOTE] Yes science has proved to be an outstanding tool in understanding the material or physicalist characteristics of the world. As with all powerful tools; science has been used for good (medicine, civil engineering, communications) and for less good (atomic bombs, chemical and biological weapons). Science itself I would say is a value neutral method. Science tells us little about the True, the Beautiful and The Good.


[QUOTE=Ruggedtouch;98211] But for now, why not proceed as if no boundary is absolute, no barrier unassailable and see where it leads us. It is far too early in the game to be throwing up our hands. That, I think, is something that many of us, religious or otherwise, can agree on. [/QUOTE] Even as a person with a spiritual or theistic worldview I do not reject science as a tool for further understanding our world. I do not think science has inherent values or ethics so there may be some sorts of scientific technological projects to which I might object (biological warfare, neutron bombs, etc) but I do not wish to reject science as a method of furthering our understanding of the world.

I happen to think (for rational reasons) that there are inherent limits in what science can tell us about some aspects of our world. I happen to think that science will never show complete determinism to be true. I happen to think that mind and phenomenological experience as understood by science will always be partial and incomplete. By no means is this an anti scientific view only a particular metaphysical speculation about the inherent limits of science and the true nature of mind. I may be proved wrong, a possibility I readily acknowledge. I only request others distinguish between their metaphysical assumptions and philosophical speculations and what science actually is and does. (i.e. science versus scientism). The findings of science versus the speculative metaphysics of materialism, physicalism and determinism.

Do not assume that theists believe in creation as opposed to evolution. A lot of theist will make the assertion that "evolution is the mechanism of creation". Do not assume that all conceptions of the divine involve supernatural action in the world suspension or contravention of the "laws" of nature many theists think god acts through nature and natural law. Religious conceptions change over time as scientific conceptions change over time. Do not assume that all forms and conceptions of the divine are in direct conflict with "science".

I find the fundamental divide between theism and atheism to be the notion of ultimate and transcendent purpose, aim, will, and meaning in the universe for the theists
Versus
The notion that the universe has no particular aim or purpose and that the universe is the result of blind, impersonal forces in which life and mind are the mere accidental or chance happenings in a universe of ultimate indifference.

I would only adopt the latter view if it could be proven beyond a doubt and I would argue science does not and never will confirm the universe as machine versus the universe as responsive, related and enchanted.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 12:53 am
@prothero,
A contradiction.

Actually it can be argued that there is a huge contradiction that arises from interpreting the scientific account of the nature of reality as a philosophical outlook on the meaning of life (or the lack of it).

On the one hand, the scientific outlook (or rather the outlook of some scientists) says that humans are an accidental by-product of a purposeless process that operates without any particular end in mind. As a result, as the famous Weinberg saying has it, 'the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless'. In this picture, nothing exists for any reason and nothing has any purpose. The only sense in which 'purpose' and 'reason' exist are in the minds of humans. We are all the accidental outcome of the activities of the blind watchmaker.

This reached its most complete expression in Jacques Monod's 'Chance and Necessity', in which he wrote that

"The first scientific postulate is the objectivity of nature: nature does not have any intention or goal".

Monod was a proponent of the view that life on earth arose by freak chemical accident and was unlikely to be duplicated even in the vast universe. "Man at last knows he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he has emerged only by chance," he wrote. He used this bleak assessment as a springboard to argue for atheism and the absurdity and pointlessness of existence. Monod believed we are merely chemical extras in a majestic but impersonal cosmic drama-an irrelevant, unintended sideshow.

HOWEVER, while apparently 'dethroning' Humanity from the 'centre of the Universe' in which he had been depicted by traditional theology, at the same time, this view presumes that the only purpose, the only reasons, that exist in the universe are those which humans are capable of consciously creating.

So, there is no purpose, and there are no reasons, for human life to exist, save for those which the human mind can create. This replaces the traditional, anthropocentric view of humans as 'the crown of creation' with a wholly ego-centred view, namely that the only 'intention' or 'purpose' or 'goal' that can be conceived in the entire universe are those of our own making. So in contrast to the 'spiritual anthropology' of the traditional faiths, for whom the human being is depicted as fullfilling a role in an immense, unfolding cosmic drama, according to the atheist view of the matter, the sole agent of purpose and reason is the human ego. The human ego alone in a vast unintelligible, meaningless and pointless universe, in which all judgement, purpose and reason is subjective, with no foundation outside its own machinations and projections.

Can't see the point, personally.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 07:55 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;98244 wrote:


HOWEVER, while apparently 'dethroning' Humanity from the 'centre of the Universe' in which he had been depicted by traditional theology, at the same time, this view presumes that the only purpose, the only reasons, that exist in the universe are those which humans are capable of consciously creating.

So, there is no purpose, and there are no reasons, for human life to exist, save for those which the human mind can create. This replaces the traditional, anthropocentric view of humans as 'the crown of creation' with a wholly ego-centred view, namely that the only 'intention' or 'purpose' or 'goal' that can be conceived in the entire universe are those of our own making. So in contrast to the 'spiritual anthropology' of the traditional faiths, for whom the human being is depicted as fullfilling a role in an immense, unfolding cosmic drama, according to the atheist view of the matter, the sole agent of purpose and reason is the human ego. The human ego alone in a vast unintelligible, meaningless and pointless universe, in which all judgement, purpose and reason is subjective, with no foundation outside its own machinations and projections.

Can't see the point, personally.


should there be a point?

i accept this theory but i see the ego as all one seamless mind-and that is where the difficulty comes in. the segments or individual focal points are impotent and in fact tend to gum up the works. if they were connected properly, things would go much better. although i admit it doesnt sound like a lot of fun. but i think that is all we have to go on for now...

the little king who thinks it is the ghost in the machine isnt really there. and it's time we got rid of him because he is the one that keeps wanting to make war on some other kingdom which also does not even exist.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 08:08 am
@prothero,
prothero;98240 wrote:

I would only adopt the latter view if it could be proven beyond a doubt and I would argue science does not and never will confirm the universe as machine versus the universe as responsive, related and enchanted.


Why would the burden of proof be on the scientific model? Particularly since there is no good reason to believe the enchanted model. As for "proving beyond doubt", that cannot be done in any area so far as I know. "Probability is the guide to life". Bishop Joseph Butler.
Caroline
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 08:41 am
@Ruggedtouch,
Ruggedtouch;98125 wrote:
I actually do think you know what I'm on about. I'm on about holding you to a standard that you're unwilling to accept
Thanks
I haven't read it, I don't know what makes you presume I have?
Thanks.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 11:25 am
@prothero,
Just a small statement for Christianity parabola :

Father=All/One=Numenon=Universe
Son=Part=Object=Mankind
Holly Spirit=Motion=Dialectic=Order

Regards>FILIPE DE ALBUQUERQUE
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 12:07 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;98263 wrote:
Why would the burden of proof be on the scientific model? Particularly since there is no good reason to believe the enchanted model. As for "proving beyond doubt", that cannot be done in any area so far as I know. "Probability is the guide to life". Bishop Joseph Butler.
I am sure the bishop would appreciate the quote but I have my doubts about the sentiment.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 12:32 pm
@prothero,
prothero;98312 wrote:
I am sure the bishop would appreciate the quote but I have my doubts about the sentiment.


I suppose so, since it was the Bishop who said it. I wonder what your doubts are. Are the expected consequences of your actions ever more than just probable? Do you know for certain what your actions will result in before you do them?
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 01:15 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;98322]I suppose so, since it was the Bishop who said it. I wonder what your doubts are. Are the expected consequences of your actions ever more than just probable? Do you know for certain what your actions will result in before you do them?[/QUOTE] No, I am the one who rejects determinism. The universe is ordered and stochastic (probabilistic). We would also agree that "certain knowledge" is unattainable.

I think the mechanistic view works well in certain aspects of the scientific endeavor. I would argue that the mechanistic view comes into serious question in the quantum world where process and events in relation provide equally adequate if not superior conceptual explanations.

The mechanistic conceptual model, IMV, is completely unsatisfactory in dealing with living systems, mind, and human aesthetics and values.

I think the traditional task of philosophy was always to address the larger questions of the nature of man, the nature of the universe and the relationship between them. In this respect I think the mechanistic model is unsatisfactory, partial and incomplete.

For those who wish to employ the mechanistic model as a worldview, fine. They represent a minority. The vast majority employ some sort of spiritual or theistic worldview. Although some theistic worldviews that make materialist claims, about the age of the earth, the origins of life, are clearly in error and not compatible with a scientific worldview many spiritual and theistic worldviews are not incompatible with science. It is the latter naturalistic theistic and spiritual naturalism views that I wish to present and defend as compatible with "science" properly understood even if not compatible with the metaphysical assumptions of physicalism and determinism.

In addition to being compatible with science, I think some spiritual and theistic views have the added advantage of being more compatible with human needs, notions and intuitions about free will, mental agency, about the "undeniable reality of experience" and about the presence of purpose or will in the universe. They also provide a basis for transcendent as opposed to "relativism or nihilism "in the realm of values and aesthetics.

I am not arguing against science or against the utility and need for more scientific investigation. I am merely arguing that all theistic and spiritual views should not be summarily dismissed because they are not scientific and that many intelligent and educated individuals still expound and use non mechanistic views of the universe.

"The kingdom is within you"
"The Divine dwells within"
I view the universe as enchanted and experiential to its very core. I find this attitude to be inspiring and it does not interfere with my appreciation of science or the scientific endeavor.
Just what does one gain by viewing the universe as a machine or worse as a deterministic machine?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 06:29 pm
@prothero,
prothero;98344 wrote:
No, I am the one who rejects determinism. The universe is ordered and stochastic (probabilistic). We would also agree that "certain knowledge" is unattainable.




If certainty is unobtainable, then doesn't it follow that probability is the guide to life? For we can act only on what we find probable, and not on what we find certain, since the latter is not, as you say, attainable. So, why do you disagree with Bishop Butler?
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 06:59 pm
@prothero,
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Oct, 2009 07:18 pm
@salima,
salima;98259 wrote:
should there be a point?

i accept this theory but i see the ego as all one seamless mind-and that is where the difficulty comes in. the segments or individual focal points are impotent and in fact tend to gum up the works. if they were connected properly, things would go much better. although i admit it doesnt sound like a lot of fun. but i think that is all we have to go on for now...

the little king who thinks it is the ghost in the machine isnt really there. and it's time we got rid of him because he is the one that keeps wanting to make war on some other kingdom which also does not even exist.


I think so, even if it is not a 'religious meaning' of any kind. After all, Victor Frankl's famous book 'Man's Search for Meaning' was an existentialist, rather than theistic, text, written after he had survived concentration camp:

Quote:
Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. In a group therapy session during a mass fast inflicted on the camp's inmates trying to protect an anonymous fellow inmate from fatal retribution by authorities, Frankl offered the thought that for everyone in a dire condition there is someone looking down, a friend, family member, or even God, who would expect not to be disappointed. Frankl concludes from his experience that a prisoner's psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, but also from the freedom of choice he always has even in severe suffering. The inner hold a prisoner has on his spiritual self relies on having a faith in the future, and that once a prisoner loses that faith, he is doomed.


Frankl found his meaning in helping others find theirs. There are scattered references to 'God' but certainly the text is much more existentialist than theistic.

Another quote from Frankl (reflecting on his experiences)

Quote:
"It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual."


I am someone who needs to be reminded of this constantly. I think Frankl shows us all a magnificent type of humanism.
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