Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Part #2: Toward a Skeptical Worldview of Hope—God as Becoming

Being and/or Becoming, that is the question…
(to misquote the Bard).

What is the term “God” at a basic level but the Good with an additional exclaimed, “OH!”

Who is/was/will-be/does/becomes?

Before launching into the second part of this series on God, which will deal with philosophers’ reasoning about God such as that of Professor Charles Hartshorne’s analytical speculation on the nature of Ultimate Reality, here's a few introductory notes.
(IF you don’t want to be bored with the important introduction, skip DOWN to SECTION #2: CHARLES HARTSHORNE.)


I suppose it goes without saying (but I will type it;-) that we finite educated primates have taken on a seemingly impossible task, sort of like one human swallowing the wide ocean whole--hook, line, and sinker;-)

We who only have a lifespan of about 70-80 years in developed countries show observation, ingenuity, creativity, and complicated thinking. But usually it also includes much hubris.

Think of various religious spokespersons now who claim the founders of their religion knew in detail what God was doing before the Big Bang, yet they excuse their founding leaders for horrific ethics-- burning people at the stake, enslaving millions, and so forth--claiming that the thinkers were only believing, behaving and doing like most other humans in their time period! The prime example, of course, is the intellectual Reformed religion and its founders John Calvin, John Knox, Martin Luther, and Hudrych Zwingli.

Who are we to think that we can understand and explain Reality, let alone Ultimate Reality? Heck, the existence of Homo sapiens has only occurred in the last second of the finite existence of one minuscule planet in a very small solar system on the edge of one of billions of galaxies. Let’s not even speculate on the multi-verse.

“Humans are good at a lot of things, but putting time in perspective is not one of them. It’s not our fault—the spans of time in human history, and even more so in natural history, are so vast compared to the span of our life and recent history that it’s almost impossible to get a handle on it. If the Earth formed at midnight and the present moment is the next midnight, 24 hours later, modern humans have been around since 11:59:59pm—1 second. And if human history itself spans 24 hours from one midnight to the next, 14 minutes represents the time since Christ.”
Tim Urban
TIME By Wait But Why

Human insight and understanding are on a long trajectory from basic self and natural awareness of early humans to the present when scientists understand enough of astronomy, complex math, an innovative technology to send a probe all the way to the dwarf planet Pluto, a journey which took almost 10 years.

“The New Horizons mission has taken what we thought we knew about Pluto and turned it upside down,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It's why we explore -- to satisfy our innate curiosity and answer deeper questions about how we got here and what lies beyond the next horizon."

FAR BEYOND THAT—is the comprehending and understanding of the ultimate nature of existence.
What happens in the essence of reality?
What took place before the Big Bang of the universe?
What will happen after humans become extinct?
After our cosmos ceases to exist?

Or for that matter who can explain exhaustively the nature of the Cosmos right now? Cosmologists are working on the seemingly infinite task. We don’t yet understand dark matter or dark energy and so much else.

But humans are in a process of becoming. As mentioned before, think how far Homo sapiens have come since they first discovered fire, math, abstract thought, and reasoned speculation.

Since we humans are a self-aware, conscious, rational, ethical species, even though we understand so little, we need to think about meaning and purpose in order not to lapse back into only instinctive responses in our brief journey of living. Every day, every moment we make choices--

Let us THINK!

A skeptic...is a person who questions everything, including her own conclusions, all the time. She craves knowledge and understanding, so she loves bumping into people and ideas that challenge her assumptions. A skeptic views disagreements as opportunities to refine her knowledge and understand more today than she did last night.
Paul Mahan

“speculation (n.)
late 14c., "intelligent contemplation, consideration; act of looking," from Old French speculacion "close observation, rapt attention," and directly from Late Latin speculationem (nominative speculatio) "contemplation, observation," noun of action from Latin speculatus, past participle of speculari "observe," from specere "to look at, view" (see scope (n.1)).
Online Etymology Dictionary

skeptic: related to skeptesthai "to reflect, look, view"
Skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found. [Miguel de Unamuno, "Essays and Soliloquies," 1924]
“The extended sense of "one with a doubting attitude" first recorded 1610s.”

“Meaning "pursuit of the truth by means of thinking" is from mid-15c. Disparaging sense of "mere conjecture" is recorded from 1570s.”


First, the essential nut of God without even the shell:

Second, Charles Hartshorne answers Epicurus' striking questions with his own complex philosophy of God reduced to a poster:

And that's only the beginning:-)


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

No comments: