Sunday, October 08, 2006

Note on God arguments and Religious Tradition

In the previous post I bloged an old thread from my old message board when it was called "have theology, will argue" (now Doxa Forums).

The major issue began as the lack of specificity in putative state of affairs (PSA) as "something vs nothing." I argue that there must be a PSA such that necessary being always existed (in some form) as opposed to total absolute nothingness, but I refuse to ever specify what that "Something" is. That's because (1) it would be foolish to even try (2)I should have to because that's not the point.

The point is not to spell out which God is real or which religous tradition to join. I think that's what a lot of skeptics, and perhaps believers too, expect form a God argument. But they shouldn't, because that's not the point. The religious traditions are dealt with in another way, God's arguments are merely to show the possibility of the logical warrant for belief in some sort of God.

But there is a better reason not to spell out the initial conditions, the PSA; we are dealing with the ultimate abstract realities of being and nothingness. We are dealing with being at a level prior to any formation of understanding that biological organisms might formulate on a dust mote orbiting a star. That is all that need be spelled out for the conditions of the argument.

People want more, they want to have a clear cut reference point for either rejecting or accepting the Bible and Christianity. But part of the point is that they understand God as a big guy on a throne with a beard who sits there and says "let the grass grow" and it grows. So

Religious traditions are chosen because they mediate transformative power. One choosing a tradition becasue it speaks to her with clearity and comfortably aborbs and puts at rest fears about the ultimate concerns. That is the function of a religious community, and a tradition is merely the community in action. This is the basis of deciding which reigion has the best handel on understanding God, not the basis of a God argument itself.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

How would your "paradigm" mesh with Hawking's claim that there was nothing beforehand--in a boundaryless state of affairs, it is possible to go from nothing to nothing.

J.L. Hinman said...

I argue that Hawking has to be wrong. NOthingness as a putative state of affiars is impossible. The only alternative to that is God.