Friday, January 11, 2013

Who is God? What is God?

I offer my latest thoughts on this, in a nutshell.

God is an emergent property in the universe, a property that alternately fertilizes and prunes us (and everything else: things come together and fall apart). We imagine him like us for the same reason that we imagine animals with human emotions (and other human features: sometimes our imagination is closer to truth than other times, but the point is that we naturally see things in terms of ourselves, all the time). The modern craze for science imagines God in terms of human rational intelligence (we can read the nature of order in the universe and understand it through applications of a sacred ritual known as "the scientific method"). Science is just a modern kind of religion, with new high priests, new myths, new values to offer those with aptitude and interest. 

Note that I am liberal in my usage of the word modern.  The genesis of science as a rational imagination of the power(s) that control(s) the universe starts pretty early (at least as early as the first philosophers and theologians who attempt to make the world a fundamentally rational thing, e.g. Aristotle).

Keep in mind as you evaluate my thoughts above that every historical religion produces all kinds of different strands (competing heresies) within an over-arching ideology that all share (and contend to dominate: each heresy competes to become the one true orthodoxy). Not all acolytes advocate that we worship science the same way.

Somebody like me will always find some heresies to like (in science as in Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism) and some to despise. I love some parts of the new religion (science? scientism?) and loathe other parts (the same as I do with Mormonism or any other -ism that has an historical tradition: I refuse to worship uncritically at any altar constructed by human hands).

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