Monday, March 03, 2008

PanDeism and Faith: the big question!!

Studying Pandeism naturally leads eventually to studying the tenets of both theistic faiths (such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), and non-theistic faiths( such as Buddhism and Hinduism).... all of these share some very similar attributes which, interestingly, are best explained by a pandeistic Universe.... for example, all different faiths report miracles and visions of God.... Buddhism/Hinduism report visions of nirvana, from which the world is seen as an illusion, although that can also be understood as seeing the world for the mere collection of God-particles that it must be.... if there were only one true "God" then such miracles and visions should be confined to one faith -- and all of the different faiths can not be correct, because they contradict each other and present incompatible rules and visions....

We are left to ponder a spiritual force in the Universe which is apparently accessible to people from all over with a common denominator of an externalized faith, or some belief system with a spiritual aspect something to substitute for it.... Paul Davies and Karen Armstrong both report some instances in which even some atheists tell of moments which, but for their rejection of theistic-type Gods, they would be tempted to call miraculous!!

The Illusion of Religion:

I think all religions are sort of illusory.... lets say a Christian and a Muslim and a Jew each pray for a loved one to heal from an illness, and in each case their prayer is "answered".... does that mean that NT Bible-God, Koran-God, and OT Bible-God are all real? More likely it means that each person doing the praying is actually themselves manipulating the world around them through the power of their own faith.... of course, more likely than that is that the loved one just happened to get better on their own, since most sick people will be prayed for by someone, and some of them will get better....

I think that Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and many other figures accorded mystical power simply had a talent for reaching and manipulating the underlying spiritual force of which the Universe is composed. I don't believe that this ability is necessarily open to everyone, at least not on the same level, just as not everyone who wants to play in the NBA or master physics will ever have the talent to do so, but every once in a long while you get a Michael Jordan or a Stephen Hawking.... it is easy to see how someone with an exceptional talent in touching the presence of God within us might mistake that for God endorsing their views and biases.... it is even easier to see how someone with that talent and a glimpse of a true understanding of the nature of a pandeistic Universe might have great difficulty explaining this concept to others who lacked that vision, but were used to the concept of anthropomorphized tribal gods.... in fact it is more likely the followers who misunderstand the message and put their own biases into its retelling!!

No Religion Offers the "one true path":

So, I don't think any religion is a true path to God, because each of them tries to cordon God off and project the biases of its adherents onto God.... right-wingers are squeemish about gays, so they envision a God who hates gays.... used to be the same with interracial marriage, the people who didn't like it said God was against it!!

Truth is, the Pandeist God (which is after all logically the most likely model of the nature of God) couldn't care less about gays or interracial marriage or any of that.... why would it? It no longer even exists as God!! Here we are, literally occupying the crust of a dustmote in the Universe, probably one of millions of planets where life exists, probably not more than 2/3 of the way towards evolving to the point where we'd be of any use to God, and 80+% of us think God cares what we eat, what we wear, or whether we work on one of the days that we ourselves have artificially segregated into a seven-day block....

In fact I think that atheists are mostly right -- after all, what is it that atheists are rejecting? 99% of it is Bible-God type stuff: accounts of God's jealousy, anger, blood libel, destruction, and inability to deal with things in a subtle manner; accounts of nature and physics that don't stand up in the face of science and reason.... in other words, most of what atheists are rejecting is unreasonable stuff which should be rejected by any person applying logic and reason to understanding the experience of the world!!

Why Pandeism is the logical end of the inquiry:

Now, I'm not saying that atheists are really pandeists at heart, and will one day wake up and discover "the error of their ways" -- this is as insulting a position as saying that there are "no atheists in foxholes".... there are unanswered questions in the Universe, and atheists, deists, pandeists, pantheists, even panentheists and theists are trying to answer that question using some level of reason.... theists and panentheists too easily get caught up in the impossible task of using reason to justify unreasonable scripture; deists offer a reasonable God, but no explanation why God would create the Universe but not interfere thereafter; pantheists offer a reasonable Universe, but no explanation as to why it came into being.... Pantheism was developed prior to knowledge of evolution or the Big Bang, and so tried to account for a constant Universe, not one with a beginning.... I should mention Panendeism also, which presumes a God that created the Universe as part of itself, but (for no purpose that I can fathom) also leaves part of God separate from -- but not interfering with -- the Universe....

This leaves atheism and Pandeism, both of which address the faults of the other systems, both of which explain the origin of the Universe in terms of logic and probability.... between Bible-God (or a Bible-type God) and atheism, it is clearly more reasonable to choose atheism, and this is as much of a choice as many people think they have.... but to those who understand the immense improbability of a Universe coming into existence at all, much less one that supports life and allows me to post blogs on the topic -- between Pandeism and atheism, it is reasonable to choose Pandeism, and so I choose Pandeism!!

9 comments:

Earl Cox said...

The universe is what it is. We are here to write blogs because the universe -- at this point in its ever increasing expansion -- is hospitable to the evolution of life. This is the essense of both the weak and the strong anthropic principle.I agree that between a Biblical god and atheism, atheism is the only rational choice. But between atheism and a supremely supernatural pantheistic view of the material world, I would still side with atheism. The more we learn about the origin of the universe, the more cosmologists begin to suspect that we are simply one tiny bubble in an unimaginably huge membrane of quantum foam that is generating multiple universes. Ours is hospitable to life because our universe just happens to have those particular laws of nature. Trillions and trillions of other universes are sterile or folded up in thirty-seven micro-tensor dimensions or constantly oscillating in picosecond vibrations, or ... well all sorts of alternatives. As the universe once confided to a poor bewildered goat herder, I am that I am!

Earl Cox said...

BTW, even if I disagree with some of your conclusions, I should have added this: I really enjoyed your critique and analysis and commentary on pandeism. You should continue with your exploration of the anthropic principle from the point of view of pandeism. Datz it!

Knuje said...

Thanks Earl, I do appreciate your comments. I'm not sure I can any more readily buy into the cosmic foam of alternate Universes -- it is after all a theory not subject to proof, and even if it is true there is still an underlying question of WHY this foam exists, as opposed to nothing existing. Did it have a beginning, a first bubble? If so, how did that happen, and why does even that unfold in a way that allows us to "eventually" exist? And if there are countless other Universes, wouldn't one of them eventually give rise to a being of absolute power over the energy around it, a being capable of piercing whatever barrier separates one Universe from the next? In short, wouldn't there become a God?

Earl Cox said...

OK, a fair point. I have to think about this but will get back to you in a few days. I am, however, uncertain whether or not natural selection would work to produce an all powerful creature that could span multiple universes. I don't see a mechanism that would generate this kind of incremental improvement.

Knuje said...

But aren't humans (or the equivalent intelligent life elsewhere) exactly the kind of mechanism that could generate such an improvement? For all the damage we have caused the world through our technology, surely we have shown ourselves to be on the path to "building better humans through science"? That is, if we manage to not destroy ourselves. Supposing we are able to continue advancing in this way, what will we make of ourselves in a hundred years? In a thousand? In a hundred thousand?

We will build supercomputers that can think as we do, and integrate them into our thoughts. We will build machines with immense power of control over our environment, and integrate them with our bodies. Eventually, we will unlock the fundamental nature of the Universe itself, and turn that into a tool for fulfillment of our desires. And if there are indeed trillions upon trillions of other Universes out there, some race of being with capacities similar to our own will take a beat on evolution and skip themselves ahead to godhood. And if such beings (or, I might suspect, such a being, as a result of a final integration of all of them into one) are unable to breach what separates Universes, then I begin to wonder how we can ever believe that these other Universes exist!!

Earl Cox said...

Precisely! you say "We will build supercomputers that can think as we do, and integrate them into our thoughts. We will build machines with immense power of control over our environment, and integrate them with our bodies.".

This is the general theme of the book I co-authored with Greg Paul a few years ago: Beyond Humanity - Cyberevolution and Future Minds. Greg Paul, as you might know, is a paleontologist, famous dinosaur artists, and the adviser on the original Jurassic Park movie.

But I will have more to say in a day or two.

Knuje said...

I am excited for it!

Knuje said...

I will look into your book (I'm working on one of my own on the topic covered in the above post).

Johnny G said...

Knuje: "...there is still an underlying question of WHY this foam exists, as opposed to nothing existing. Did it have a beginning, a first bubble? If so, how did that happen, and why does even that unfold in a way that allows us to "eventually" exist?"

The same question could be (and should be) applied to the pandeist god. Why does this deity exist rather than nothing? This question also has no answer. To imply that a preexistent quantum foam is incoherent because there is no "why" for its existence, one would have to demonstrate that this question can indeed be answered in regards to this deity of pandeism.

Yet, if this deity has always existed, then it obviosuly has no cause. If it has no cause, it also has no purpose, as purpose entails an initial directive in time. What we would be dealing with here is quite literally an entirely purposeless being. There would be no reason for its existence and thus, there is no "why" to explain its existence. In this regard, it would be no different from an eternal quantum foam. It would just simply exist. It wouldn't exist because of any cause, or for any reason or for any purpose. It would just exist.

One of the tenets of pandeism is that the existence of the universe is a purposeful act. This presupposes that this preexistent being can act with purpose; that it has a will.. The pandiest must explain how a purposeless being can act with purpose. Since this being's actions must derive from its own nature, it follows that a purposeless being would not possess intention, as this would actually contradict its own eternal nature. Since, the creation of the universe would not be a purposeful act of purposeless being, one can safely surmise that it is also a purposeless event, either unintentionally emanating from this deity or from the quantum foam. In this respect, the eternal quantum foam that generates random and purposeless universes is a more elegant explanation (as far as any explanation can go, that is).