Huh? No this isn’t about “an animal with dark brown fur and webbed feet with claws that eats fish.”
That’s a fact of the natural world—an otter--if you’ve been to the Central Coast, Sea World, or to an aquarium lately.
We’re dealing instead with that highly controversial ideal of ultimate reality--the Transcendent.
Speaking Enlightenment talk like Thomas Jefferson and his buddies.
To use slang, “God, not facts”—as a yokel might put it. And then add when doubted,
“Heck, God ‘ott’r exist”;-)
But the famous atheists Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Jerry Coyne, and all manner of various other
non-theists including some Quakers,
claim the Transcendent doesn’t.
To them, the Enlightenment was delusion.
But for Enlightenment thinkers, God is essential--primary before existence, and exists more than any-- ‘thing.’
Yet, Deity ("ultimate reality" to quote the definition in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary) doesn’t exist as a brute fact.
Sound like a contradiction?
If God existed as a brute fact, say, as an otter, then everyone would be a theist, everyone would know that the Enlightenment is true, would agree—yes otters and God are.
Even Dawkins would think the Divine is real then. One could prove it mathematically and scientifically.
Ultimate, transcendent reality would be as observable as the big black nose of an otter.
But ultimate reality comes from another non-place--is invisible, isn’t factually discernible in the physical world.
God exists in the sense that the transcendent ideal exists, in the sense of Ought, in the sense of Human Rights, in the sense of the Creative Good.
Again--the Transcendent Ideal, isn’t in the physically testable, observable, measurable universe.
Consider an ethical example: “All humans are created equal.”
Well, that’s simply not a “brute fact.”
Most humans aren’t created equal.
If you’re in doubt, get thee hence to a science textbook or the international news or do an in depth analysis of a large group of individuals.
Check out all the facts showing the incredible amount of inequality in humanity and the natural world.
Unequal at birth--mentally, physically,emotionally, socially, psychologically...
If everyone were equal in a brute fact sense, like “2+2=4” or “water is wet” or “otters swim,”
then that ethical ideal—equality
with its “certain unalienable Rights”--
wouldn’t have to be hoped for, sought after, striven to achieve.
But millions of men and women in history and at present DO think everyone is equal in an ideal invisible unprovable sense.
At least since the Enlightenment, many thinkers have held to equality, justice, free speech, and other human rights.
They claim all humans OUGHT to be equal, ought to be free, and ought to be treated justly.
An "ought" is a very powerful word representing transcendent truth.
Just as Immanuel Kant and many other brilliant philosophers stated.
Most of thinkers throughout the ages from Plato to Whitehead, have thought that the “Ought” itself is more real than any puny brute fact—
the cosmos came about because it “ought” to be created.
Many horrors of “can” exist, are in some cases brute facts, part of ruthless evolutionary history.
Besides, most scientists think that life, evolution, and the cosmos don't operate according to "ought," but are unguided.
Indeed, we humans--even sensitive individuals “can” and often do ignore the plight of children born into impoverished countries, but we OUGHT not.
That Creative Ought is Divine; God is the Creative Ought.
The Conscious Good and Creative Will behind/above/beyond this matter and energy world.
You say, you don’t believe that?
You ott’r. :-)
Only in the Ought is there hope, equality,
and all those other good things, which aren’t things, not facts--
but sought-for ideals, the transcendent truth.
In the LIGHT, the enlightenment ought,