Sunday, November 8, 2015
The Wonder of the Transcendent Good
If we as humans reject the horrific unethical beliefs of many Muslims, Christians, and Hindus (Part #1 The Horror of God Belief), and we already have rejected delusions and fanciful mythological stories of religions in general as various thoughtful theists have done since Plato...
do we go about thinking of Ultimate Reality
(usually and traditionally termed “God”)?
Ah, the God question.
Nothing like trying to solve the nature of existence, billions of years of cosmic history, why the Big Bang happened, and why is it possible (to paraphrase Einstein) that mere primates came to self-aware consciousness
and the ability for creativity, reason,
The how is often answered by cosmologists speculating about multi-verses and quantum events. Fascinating stuff. As for humanity’s sometime action of altruism, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins speculates that ethical ideal might have come about by a “misfiring” of evolution.
However open agnostics such as the astronomer Chris Impey of the University of Arizona-Tucson raise very good questions about the unusual anomaly of Homo sapiens in the midst of what appears to be an unconscious, thoughtless, amoral cosmos.
Astronomer Impey: “If the universe contained nothing more than forces operating on inanimate matter, it would not
be very interesting."
"The presence of sentient life-forms like us
(and perhaps unlike us) is the zest, or
the special ingredient, that gives cosmic
history dramatic tension."
of tiny subatomic particles and are part
of a vast space-time arena, yet
we hold both extremes
in our heads.”
How It Ends? By Chris Impey
Yes, the amazing ability of conscious primates to hold the concept of the macrocosm to the microcosm within each of our heads, to create new things which never existed, to have a sense of ought which often thwarts what is biologically advantageous….
So if we humans want to move beyond our personal feelings and inner intuition in regard to God, we need to look to brilliant philosophical thinkers.
While atheist thinkers have posited that everything is due to cosmic
Chance (Jacques Monad, Stephen Jay Gould) or
Necessity/Determinism (Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne),
in striking contrast mathematician/philosopher
Alfred Lord Whitehead
and philosopher Charles Hartshorne
think that Meaning and Creativity and the Good
are at the center
and beginning of
Consciousness, reason, ethics, aesthetics are somehow inherent
in the essential essence of the cosmos,
not meaningless anomalies like atheists claim.
Since Charles Hartshorne comes from a Quaker background, attended Haverford Quaker College
and is the most recent brilliant theistic thinker,
let’s first take a look at him
and his concepts and philosophy
which he terms,
Earliest Spiral Galaxy
For Hartshorne, the future is OPEN. Creativity, possibility are there. God and all conscious life have real alternative choices to create.
"When Scrooge, in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, asks the Ghost of Christmas Future whether he is seeing the shadows of the things that “will be” or the shadows of the things that “may be only,” he is expressing in a precise way Hartshorne’s analysis of future tense statements."
"If the shadows are of the things that “will be,” then all hope is lost, but if they are the shadows of the things that “may be only” then Scrooge can change his ways and make for himself a different future."
"A hallmark of Hartshorne’s neoclassical theism is that the universe is a joint creative product of (a) the lesser creators that are the creatures, localized in space and time, and (b) the eminent creator which is God whose influence extends to every creature that ever has or that ever will exist."
By Donald Wayne Viney, Pittsburg State University
"Charles Hartshorne, (born June 5, 1897, Kittanning, Pennsylvania, U.S.—died October 10, 2000, Austin, Texas), American philosopher, theologian, and educator known as the most influential proponent of a “process philosophy,” which considers God a participant in cosmic evolution."
"The descendant of Quakers and son of an Episcopalian minister, Hartshorne attended Haverford College before serving as a medical orderly in World War I. He completed his undergraduate education at Harvard University...earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1923. Hartshorne studied in Germany (1923–25), where he met Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl."
"He returned to lecture at Harvard (1925–28), after which he taught philosophy at the University of Chicago (1928–55) and at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (1955–62). He then taught...philosophy at the University of Texas--Austin...He also served as president of the American Philosophical Association and the Metaphysical Society of America."
*Side Note: Of course, some thoughtful people come to the conclusion there is no Ultimate Source/Essence. Nontheist and atheistic Quakers, Christian nontheists, religious atheists—all claim that there is no Essence, no Transcendence. Only matter and energy reign. It appears that they use religious language to describe their feelings and subjective preferences, nothing more. If you would like to read about nontheism, check back in to some of my posts on that subject.
To be continued--
In the Light,