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 Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?

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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:14 pm

This is a repost from another forum, in answer to the subject question.


An Atheist is "without God".
An Agnostic is "without Revelation".
A Deist is "without Alternative".

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, noted that five-sixths of mankind is without revelation. However, he went on to point out that the existence of God is a reasonable assumption. ". . . in every hypothesis, you must admit an eternal pre-existence of something". He then admitted that it is "more simple to believe . . . in the eternal pre-existence of the world . . . than to believe in the eternal pre-existence of an ulterior cause, or Creator of the world . . ."

Nevertheless, he insisted that "without appeal to revelation . . . it is impossible for the human mind not to perceive and feel a conviction of design, consummate skill, and indefinite power in every atom of its composition". Therefore, he concluded that, "So irresistible are these evidences of an intelligent and powerful agent, that . . ." men have believed through all time " . . . in the hypothesis of a Creator, rather than in that of a self-existent universe". Thus, he believed that "this universal sentiment" gave more weight to the God hypothesis than to the other alternatives. That's why Jefferson was a Deist, and not a Christian or an Atheist. He believed in God, but not in the traditional "revealed words" of God. His preferred revelation was universal Reason.

My own reliance on "universal sentiment" is somewhat less accommodating than his, however. Although my "revelation" is indeed based on human reason, my beliefs are based---as far as possible---on empirical evidence, rather than pure reason or common sentiment. That's why I am an Agnostic Deist. Apart from the otherwise-unexplained existence of the physical world, there is no definitive empirical evidence for the existence of a supernatural deity of any kind. But there is a growing pile of circumstantial scientific evidence for the necessity of a First Cause, and for a Sentient Designer of the universe. Hence, in principal I believe in G*D, but I don't know He/r.

Philosophically, there are only two rational explanations for the existence of the world we live in: 1> "eternal pre-existence of the world", as set forth in the various Multiverse and Many Worlds theories of a self-existent material Omniverse, or 2> "an ulterior cause, or Creator of the world", as presumed in most human traditions throughout history. Either way, something must be eternal and infinite. And of course, it's easier for the human mind to imagine what-is extending forever into the past and the future. But, pace Ockham, Science doesn't always accept the easiest answer to a complex question. I have attached a link to my own argument in favor of option 2, based not on sentiment, but upon the current status of scientific knowledge. After considering the reasonable alternatives, I have no choice but to assume the existence of an eternal, infinite, self-existent, "ulterior cause" of the temporal, finite, contingent, proximate cause of my personal existence.


Rational Reasons for the Existence of God:

http://home.mindspring.com/~johne84570/Rational%20Reasons%20for%20God_%20summary%2004-05-08.pdf
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:31 am

I enjoyed Rational Reasons for the Existence of God. Thanks for sharing it.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:11 pm

Repost from another forum, in response to another "who needs an intelligent First Cause" comment :


<< If causality extends beyond the universe then so does time. So why not space? >>

That seems to sum-up the presumption behind the Multiverse/Many Worlds theories. Sure, this local universe popped into existence at day/hour 00:00. But the eternal and infinite Omniverse was the un-caused First Cause of that single event. In other words, space and time and causation are perpetual---no beginning, no end.

But all you have to do is---presumptuously---add a conscious mind to that Omniverse, and you are right back in Deism territory. If space and time and causation can be eternal, why not consciousness?

If the Omniverse, including all possible temporal worlds, is eternal and infinite, it stands to reason that it/he/she has had plenty of "time" to develop the most bodacious mind imaginable.

However, in the philosophical definition of "eternity" there is no time, no change, no causation---there is just Being. So any way you look at it, this particular world is a paradox. And the only way to resolve such a universal conceptual paradox is to go outside the conceptual category in question (universe) looking for a reason (i.e. a cause). For Deists, G*D is The Reason.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:41 pm

The First Cause debate goes on:

Timelessness is the ultimate reality

<< Can you demonstrate why time must be a dimension of the omniverse? If not then the first cause argument is dead. >>

I think you missed the point. It's not my contention that time is a dimension of the Omniverse. That seems to be the assumption of Multiverse theorists.

When I use the term "First Cause" it is from the perspective of those living in a temporal universe, not from the viewpoint of a timeless deity. For those interested in such brain-twisting concepts, I recommend the mind-stretching book, Everything Forever : Learning to See Timelessness, by Gevin Giorbran.

<< So if if the mind/god can just be, why not the space-time/universe? Occam's razor shaves. >>

Both can just "BE", in the sense that the real universe, including any multiverses, is an idea in the mind of a non-spatial, non-temporal "spirit". My own personal rationale for resolving the paradox is to assume that physical Reality is ultimately a meta-physical concept in an infinite mind. But from our perspective on the inside, God's "virtual reality" is our actual reality. This is a counterintuitve concept that I am currently trying to cram into a more intuitive context. But it's like a perceptual puzzle : either you get it, or you don't. The key is to learn to think holistically rather than particularistically. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:43 pm

And the beat goes on:


God concept is irrational but real

<< The main problem is that the very question "What is the cause of the universe?" presupposes a "system" of causality outside of this universe. Do u see how circular this is? >>

Yes. Any speculation about transcendental things---beyond the known universe---is inherently circular, and that includes multiverses and omniverses. That's why Deists shouldn't try to prove the existence of a First Cause with classical reason and logic. Even Aristotle's Prime Mover was essentially similar to the mathematical expression, X to the Nth power. Where N is an undefined number approaching infinity. The deity of Deism is an unknown, unprovable, irrational concept in the sense that any statement involving infinity is technically irrational. However, an infinite First Cause is also real and meaningful in the same sense that "pi" is real. Pi will lead you around in logical circles, but mathematicians now accept it as an undeniable and useful fact of reality.

Wikipedia:
In mathematics, an irrational number is any real number that is not a rational number — that is, it is a number which cannot be expressed as a fraction m/n, where m and n are integers, with n non-zero. Perhaps the best-known irrational numbers are ?, e and ?2.

Note the ? character above was substituted for the Pi symbol, and the square root of 2.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:45 pm

And on and on:


<< You did call your argument for the First Cause rational in your first post in this thread. You seem to love paradoxes, man Razz >>

Yes, I like to resolve apparent paradoxes by looking at the next higher logical category, which is technically a transcendent (above and beyond) realm.

The First Cause argument, as stated by Aristotle, is indeed Rational and Reasonable, but it is not Empirical. The number we call Pi clearly has an impact on the Real world, hence it is reasonable to believe in its existence as a useful object of thought. But it is also Irrational, because the infinite number can never be reached by our finite reason. For the same reason, I remain agnostic about the existence of an eternal Deity, because I literally don't know G*D. But just as I use the irrational concept of PI in mathematical calculations, I use the irrational, but reasonable, concept of First Cause in philosophical calculations.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:47 pm

And on and on . . .


Creation versus Causation

<< Answer me this for christ's sake: On what do you base the idea that the Universe was caused? >>

Beside the philosophical, logical argument postulated by Aristotle, I base my assumption that the physical universe---space/time/matter/energy---was "caused" on the current models of astrology and cosmology. By that I refer specifically to the Big Bang theory, and subsequent evidences that this gianormous universe began as a tiny dot, and will expand until, for all practical purposes, it no longer exists. Can you imagine what existed outside that minuscule singularity floating in nothingness, or what lies beyond for the universe to expand into?

Those dangling loose ends raise the question of causation : what existed before-and-after the long-but-finite existence of this evolving world? There seem to be only two possible answers : nothing-at-all, or everything-forever. The first option implies that this temporal world boot-strapped itself from non-existence into physical existence [self-creation ex nihilo]. And that sounds a lot like non-explanatory magic to me. The second answer can be envisioned in two non-magical ways : 1>the before-and-after is a self-existent eternal Omniverse of re-cycling time and space and matter and energy, or 2>the physical world was caused by a self-existent eternal Mind, which in turn creates matter, et al. [creation ex omni]

Since minds, with their intangible information contents, and their imaginative creative powers are a mundane fact of life in my world, I find the Eternal Mind explanation to be more reasonable. But that option is meaningless unless you understand the distinction between Physics and Metaphysics. For what it's worth, here is my personal take on metaphysics.




META-PHYSICS : Literally “after” or “beyond” physics. ~ Aristotle divided his treatise on science into two parts. The world as-known-via-the-senses was labeled “physics”. And the world as-known-by-the-mind, by reason, was labeled “meta-physics”. Plato called the unseen world that hides behind the physical façade: “Ideal” as opposed to Real. For him, Ideal “forms” (concepts) were prior-to the Real “substance” (matter). ~ Physics refers to the things we perceive with the eye of the body. Meta-physics refers to the things we conceive with the eye of the mind. Meta-physics includes the properties, and qualities, and functions that make a thing what it is. Matter is just the clay from which a thing is made. Meta-physics is the design (form, purpose); physics is the product (shape, action). The act of creation brings an ideal design into actual existence. The design concept is the “formal” cause of the thing designed. ~ I use a hyphen in the spelling to indicate that I am not talking about Ghosts and Magic, but about Ontology.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:49 pm

And onward to infinity---and beyond:

<< You have neither the circle nor it's descriptive properties to "show" me. >>

Actually, I have the biggest multi-dimensional circle imaginable to show you : the cosmic sphere. Astronomers look at dots of light in space, and infer that they are similar in some ways to the stuff we see around us on earth. Likewise, you can think into the space beyond space, and infer that it must be similar in some way to the "stuff" we see here on earth. But is that transcendent category of "stuff" more likely to be Mind, or Matter? You decide. But keep in mind that the only matter and energy we know anything about is on a one-way trip to oblivion (according to current "open-ended" expansion theories*). The conservation of energy/matter only applies to closed systems.

Just as you can mathematically infer the circumference from the diameter of a circle, you can infer the First Cause from the subsequent effects. Is PI a physical component of a circle, or a metaphysical "cause" of the circle? Just as the non-physical "laws" of physics** determine (cause) the properties of a circle, the meta-physical law-maker (cause) of the universe determines the properties of the cosmos.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_universe

** Are those "laws of physics" material things or ideas about those things?
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:52 pm

We are now beyond Infinity, and into the early stages of Eternity:


Eternal BEING versus temporal beings

<< If the universe can BE in a in a timeless conceptual realm (such as a mind
or omniverse) then the universe wasn't caused; it just is.
>>

According to my understanding, the physical universe cannot BE in the same conceptual category as a timeless realm, because it is separated by a temporal & conceptual boundary.

The uncaused First Cause of the universe just is. The created universe is however contingent. Logically, a subordinate, bounded, contingent category depends upon a superordinate, unbounded, infinite category for its very existence.

That's the difference between Physics and Metaphysics : bounded versus unbounded.

For example, in physical Reality you cannot go forward and backward in time (Remember, space warping and worm-holing are, at the moment, science fiction). But in metaphysical Ideality you can do just about anything you can imagine. That's why Science Fiction and Fantasy---and Religion---are so popular.

Before you place the First Cause in the SF&F category though, remember that for an eternal/infinite Being, anything possible is true and real, right now, and forever. As soon as you pass the threshold of eternity, all the limitations of physics no longer apply. So. if anything can be eternal or inifinite, then it is---necessarily.

So we're back to the original, time-before-time, conundrum. Is eternity a possibility? If so, then either a metaphysical Omniverse, or a non-physical First Cause must be.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:06 pm

Sounds like about as much fun as banging your head against a wall. Nice job arguing your POV though. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:37 pm

Just to add my own two cents, I take a more Neoplatonic approach to metaphysics rather than an Aristotelian one.

In other words, I view "the manifest" (the cosmos) as an emanation of "the One" rather than a creation of a "God being". "The One" includes everything that ever was or that ever could be including the manifest and the unmanifest. The unmanifest is the limitless potential that acts as the ground for all manifestation.

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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:16 pm

Quote :
Just to add my own two cents, I take a more Neoplatonic approach to metaphysics rather than an Aristotelian one.

My approach to metaphysics is not really based on Aristotle's philosophy. It may be more like Syncretism than Neoplatonism in that I try to reconcile Ari's pragmatic category of metaphysics with Plato's idealistic theory of Forms. I'm not really well-versed in any of the ancient philosophies, except on a superficial level---just enough to steal useful names and concepts. So you might call my homespun philosophy Neo-plato-ari-scientism; or to use my own terminology, Enformationism.

I refer to Aristotle's distinction between physics and metaphysics merely to illustrate my own understanding of the yin/yang relationship between matter and mind, body and soul. Neoplatonism may have been responsible for changing Ari's original practical concept of Metaphysics into the esoteric occultation of medieval Mysticism. As a result, metaphysics (the nature of reality) has acquired an unreal, otherworldly connotation.

Enformationism may be regarded as an attempt to update all ancient pre-scientific theoretical philosophies with the fruits of modern scientific empirical paradigms. In my view, Metaphysics is as mundane as Physics, and as transcendent as G*D.

PS---By avoiding philosophical and religious terminology as much as possible, I can carry-on extended dialogues with Atheists and Naturalists, who would otherwise tune-out at the first mention of Metaphysics. I would drop that term too, but I can't think of a clearer way to express the holistic concept of Dualism within Monism: Physics + Metaphysics = All.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:28 pm

Quote :
Sounds like about as much fun as banging your head against a wall. Nice job arguing your POV though.
I don't think of these dialogues as a head-banger's ball. Instead, it's an enjoyable, competitive sport---one where winning isn't everything, but truth is the only thing.

As a recovering Agnostic, I am still trying to convince myself that my Deistic wordview is not a self-deluding piece of wishful imagining. These dialectical dialogues are much more interesting than arguing with myself.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:40 pm

Quote :
In other words, I view "the manifest" (the cosmos) as an emanation of "the One" rather than a creation of a "God being".
Actually, my understanding of "creation" is logically compatible with the Neo-platonic process of "emanation". By that I mean, our physical universe is simply a manifestation of an idea in the mind of G*D. In other words, physical matter is ultimately the same thing as metaphysical mind. Matter is a product of the divine creative process of In-Form-Ation---or if you prefer, Emanation.

The hypothetical "God Being" of the Enformationism theory is similar to a human being in only one way : we consist of the same stuff---mind stuff---which we refer to in a technical sense as Information, or in a religious sense as Spirit. Hence, our finite, temporal existence is a part (a holon) within the infinite, eternal Being (Whole) that we refer to as G*D. This monistic Whole Being subdivides He/rself to "create" the dualistic, particular, beings and things of the manifested world.

In my essay, Intelligent Evolution, I figuratively portray the "creation" as a conception. The metaphysical term "conception" is illustrated metaphorically as-if a female deity fertilized herself, and brought-forth (emanated) a fetal world, which is distinct from, yet still included within, the One : E Unum Pluribus.


The Free Dictionary: Conception
a. The ability to form or understand mental concepts and abstractions.
b. Something conceived in the mind; a concept, plan, design, idea, or thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:15 pm

The G*D concept is a tautology. That's why Atheists can't wrap their minds around it : the radius is infinite, and the circle goes on forever. The dialogue on another forum is winding down. But I have learned a little more about the conceptual gaps and communication blocks inherent in the topic :


Circular logic = tautology

<< Unnecessary circular logic again. The Universe was caused because there exists an external realm in which it was caused which is similar to the Universe. The extra realm must exist because it needs it's self to exist. The Universe has not been demonstrated to necessitate a "beyond". >>

The hypothetical eternal Omniverse/Deity could not have a "beyond". But how would you propose to demonstrate the necessity of a beyond for the temporal Universe? The only method I can think of is a logical syllogism : P1 - an origin in time always has a before and after. P2 - the known universe had a beginning. C - therefore something existed before the beginning. The question then is, was that "time"-before-time another finite slice of time, or was it eternity, with no beginning or end? The multiverse theory is an infinite regression of temporal worlds.*

The Cosmology of Einstein's era assumed that the Universe was eternal and infinite. But astrological findings soon proved that assumption to be presumptuous. Even Einstein admitted that the universe is finite but unbounded---in the trivial sense that any sphere is unbounded on it's surface.

The Quantum Theory, that Einstein never fully accepted, eventually forced Cosmologists to examine their axioms more closely. Consequently, they began to produce more and more imaginative theories of sub-quantum, one-dimensional Strings, and pre-big-bang, multiverses. After over 20 years, the empirical evidence for those elaborate theories is non-existent.

Those frustrated theorists will tell you that any statement regarding eternity or infinity is, of necessity, a tautology---going around in circles forever.

*Which reminds me of the old world-on-a-turtle's-back argument. When asked what the turtle is standing on, the turtle believer says, "you can't fool me, it's turtles all the way down".
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:28 pm

Atheists, for whom physics is all, typically have little patience with the endless argumentation of philosophers, who insist on bringing irrational Metaphysics into the reasoning. And some Deists, for whom G*D is all, may also lose patience with bringing rational physics into a question of faith. But for me, Physics + Metaphysics = ALL.


Philosophy, schmilosophy!

Deism debunker: << Philosophy without scientific data
easily leads to meaningless descriptions of reality (which is what
we're doing mostly anyway). Please, even with science it's crazy
enough.>>


Deism defender:<< The philosophy here could go on forever, but I do not sure what this would accomplish. >>

Both the debunker and the anti-debunker seem to be saying the same thing : enough with the philosophy already! Let's all just believe whatever makes us happy about ultimate concerns.

Contented people have been telling philosophers to back-off for millennia. But some philosophers (and scientists) are like adventurers and pioneers who are motivated to leave their comfortable beliefs behind in order to explore the exotic unknown territory beyond the edge of understanding.

Where would we be now if Columbus had listened to those who warned that, not only was he wasting his time and Queen Isabella's money, but he would most likely sail right off the edge of the world?

PS---Intuit-something Deism is a small improvement over know-nothing Agnosticism, and know-it-all Theism, only in the sense that it gives us a reason to continue pushing the boundaries of understanding. But it still doesn't give us any direct knowledge of the whys and wherefores of existence. Like the writers of Theistic scriptures, Deists still have to make-up their own answers to those nagging questions. I'd like to get a little closer to the truth before I close the book on my investigations.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:18 pm

I wrote:
Quote :
Intuit-something Deism is a small improvement over know-nothing Agnosticism, and know-it-all Theism, only in the sense that it gives us a reason to continue pushing the boundaries of understanding. But it still doesn't give us any direct knowledge of the whys and wherefores of existence. Like the writers of Theistic scriptures, Deists still have to make-up their own answers to those nagging questions.

To which the pro-Deism, anti-debunker responded :
Quote :
Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world. We (humans) did not create this world! I do not believe that all deists "make up their own answers" as you say.

This person seems to be offended by the philosophical debate over something he or she takes for granted. So I won't prolong the agony on the other forum. But the Deists here seem to have thicker skin, and a higher tolerance for dicey dialogue.

So, do you agree or disagree, that Deists have to make-up their own answers (from scratch or by borrowing ad hoc ingredients) to the ancient philosophical inquiries into the reasons for existence? If not, where are the authoritative answers to be found? Or should we refrain from asking such moot questions?

I'm not trying to be provocative. But I find this to be a potentially serious weakness in the modern Deist "movement". The lack of a solid doctrinal foundation, leaves us unable to unify around a stable set of positive beliefs. All we seem to have in common is a set of negative beliefs about scriptural religions. Some have attempted to find some common ground, but that usually ends up alienating someone. So does open-ended Deism have what it takes to become the religion of the future? Or will it forever remain a minority philosophy?????
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:33 pm

If we don't make-up our own answers to the nagging existential questions then who does?

I find this open-endedness to be as much of a strength as it is a weakness because it allows for great freedom of thought.

I think Deism will always be around, even if it's not called Deism in the future. I believe its appeal will also always be limited to a select minority of "thinkers" however.

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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:06 pm

This is a paragraph I just added to my website thesis on Enformationism. But it also reminded me of this dialogue on Deism. My Atheist dialoguers, after they see where my Deist defense is heading, typically raise an objection to bringing circular, irrational, philosophical concepts into what they hoped would be a straightforward, rational, scientific analysis of the God Theory. I can only admonish them to get real, and get up-to-date with 21st century science. Unfortunately, they don't seem to know what I'm talking about. Thus the need for the thesis, and the website (coming soon???). Wink



Materialists often object to the intrusion of idealistic, metaphysical religious and philosophical concepts into the pragmatic, scientific search for understanding of the world around us. But it is my contention that it was materialistic Science itself, following the evidence where it led, that accidentally stumbled into the forbidden realm of Idealism. If they could turn back the clock to the golden age of science–-before the unexpected and unwanted intrusions of Einstein and the Quantum Theorists into regions of the universe beyond the limited scope of man’s physical senses–-Materialism would still reign supreme. Since Einstein showed the practical impossibility of going backward in time though, I guess we will just have to move forward, and deal with the perplexing paradoxes of pre-cosmic and sub-atomic reality in the scientific spirit of open-minded skepticism. And let the facts fall where they may.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:25 pm

Quote :
I think Deism will always be around, even if it's not called Deism in the future. I believe its appeal will also always be limited to a select minority of "thinkers" however.
Not if I have anything to do with it! Nya ha ha! Twisted Evil

The Enformationism thesis is my own selfish, personal attempt to reconcile reductive Science and holistic Deism in my own mind. But if the hypothesis turns out to be convincing and compelling---who knows, maybe Enformed-Deism will become the successor to Materialism as the scientific paradigm, and the secular faith of the future.

Such an open-ended belief system probably won't resolve all of our inter-human conflicts though. So let a thousand flowers bloom! Evolution will select the fittest memes to pass-on to future generations.
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:25 pm

The Why Deism, Why God discussion continues on another forum :

G*D is not a creature.

<< The really big question is: Who created god? And..... why did It do such a lousy job? >>

These questions are irrelevant for Deists. The biblegod however, who interacts with humans in realtime, is subject to all of those logical challenges.

Whether they know it or not, the G*D of most Deists exists beyond space-time and beyond good-evil. In Eternity there are no divisive dualities, only Unity and Harmony. Many people think of Eternity as merely a really long time. But in the philosophical sense, it is the absence of time. And that is a mind-boggling concept for temporal creatures.

As stated in the referenced essay, good and evil are subjective experiences of flesh & blood humans. An eternal, self-existent Being could only experience good and evil by partaking in the human existence in some manner. Christians believe that Jesus was god-in-the-flesh. But I suspect that the Creator experiences the ups and downs of reality thru He/r creation in a more holistic manner. By that I mean, each of us is connected to the whole. The creation is like God's little toe, it hurts when you stub it against the bedpost. We are like cells inside that toe-world. Any questions? Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:30 pm

Here's a postscript to the post above :

Crummy Creator or Thrill Seeker?

<< why did It do such a lousy job? >>

Some people accuse G*D of being a crummy creator, because they assume that the divine intention was perfection. But why would an Eternal, Infinite, presumably perfect deity want to reproduce perfection? Perfection is boring. What makes this world interesting* is the imperfections, contrasts, challenges, and conflicts.

But what if G*D is a monistic, static singularity---the ultimate, unchanging whole? Then the only way S/he could experience something different, for a change, would be to divide Unity into Duality. Good and Evil are inherent in an evolutionary world. For those at the top of the hierarchy, who are happy with the status quo, any change could only have negative consequences. And vice-versa for those at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder.

For those of us in the middle, it could go either way. And that, as they say, is why we play the game. Yet an Omnipotent game creator has an advantage over us creatures, S/he can be both a spectator, and all of the players at the same time. Wouldn't that be fun? cheers

* An ancient Chinese curse said, "may you live in interesting times".
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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:19 pm

Well stated. I agree with your assessment.

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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:19 pm

Why Deism? continued . . .

Happy in haplessness?

<< A creator, it seems, can neither be demonstrated nor ruled out by logic, science is even more hapless of course.>>


I think you will find that most Deists will agree with that assertion. Logic cannot prove existence, only valid reasoning.

Personal experience is the only proof of anything. So, with that in mind, I can sincerely say that I don't know for sure if the Deity of my speculation exists in any sense. However, based on the same logic, I can't say for sure that you exist. For all I know, you could be a cutting-edge computer, or a Turing machine, running pre-set but adaptable algorithms. But at least I get feedback. My hypothetical Deity only gives feed-forward.

<< Deism seems to be based on the feeling that the Universe had to have "come" "from" "somewhere", putting that in a sensible format is one hell of a trip.. and I really don't think
it's worth it.>>


Again, most Deists would reluctantly agree with you that their belief in G*D is an act of feeble faith. But for me, even that is an agonizing admission, because I am devoutly skeptical of blind faith. All I can say is that logic and reason brought me into the mountains overlooking the promised land (direct experience of G*d), but mandated that I can never actually enter that land flowing with milk and honey (ultimate Truth).*

Consequently, I can only cross-over Jordan (the limits of logic) in my imagination to see what reason was pointing toward. Having no direct experience of deity, anything specific I might say would be fictional. But that's OK, as long as I realize that my image of G*D is not necesarily true**. Many people are subject to the illusion of "reification", where they believe that the images in their mind are real.

For me, those images are merely philosophical guideposts. Even the most hardened Materialist has some kind of mental worldview that defines his physical reality. My fictional fabrication of the-world-beyond-the-scope-of-my-senses is the abstract map that guides me through life. And I think it's worth the effort to create as accurate a map as possible. Unlike, traditional religious worldviews though, mine evolves and updates as human knowlege progresses. If I sincerely thought that 19th century Materialism was the final word on reality, my map-making days would be over.

* I apologize for the biblical references, but those ancient metaphors are still timeless. Embarassed

** Here's my image of G*D :

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PostSubject: Re: Atheist, Agnostic, Deist. Why Deism?   Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:37 pm

Oh yes, Aishwarya Ray... What a babe.

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