ETHICS and SPIRITUALITY: Is religion necessary?
We know there’s a Universe because we’re indelibly written into it. But where did it come from? What caused it? There had to be a cause for there to be the Universe (effect) that gives us life. What could it be?
“The stuff of religious philosophy…(is) no more or less than assigning (whatever heralded) the universe to some power, potential or what-have-you that precedes and pervades our world. This singularity is universally continuous from mankind’s point of view–a given. It was, is, and as far as we can know, will be—ageless, dateless, timeless, eternal, immortal, all-being and unproveable. http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=727
What does this mean? And how do we handle it (because we really can’t continue to ignore it)? Early religions handled it by assigning this dynamis to a being they called God (in whatever form). Our current science won’t handle it because science demands proof, and proof of the ineffable is not forthcoming.
“We may propose with some certainty that whatever preceded the universe not only still suffuses everything in it (and perhaps–why not–beyond?), but also is continuous within it (as) an unbroken continuum within and between quarks, solar systems, constellations and galaxies.” (Ibid)
Whatever the source, it is ineffable—impossible even to describe let alone prove—because a result can’t define its source. Yet we know there must be one. “Not accepting this potency doesn’t change it; if the Big Bang makes any sense at all, so also does the idea that we must be given of it and whatever preceded it, whatever else we may be.” (Ibid)
Early descriptions of God (a Being with a form) tend to be problematic because form itself did not exist (nor did time, for that matter). While the ancients had even less to work with than we have today, they may have had the right idea without the knowledge or words to articulate it.
Today we have some words along with scientific backup for getting something from nothing: quantum theory. http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=727 And (perhaps surprisingly) it reflects some biblical ideas that science should not ignore simply because of its religious overtones.
At the risk of losing some of you, let’s take a look at the biblical:
- “Let there be light!” – Compatible with the Big Bang? www.extremeethics.org/?p=931
- The ineffable “I Am That I Am” (Exodus 3:14) or: I Am He Who Is; I Am the Being; the That That Is Not; He Who Is; To Whom Only Belongs The Existence; and other translations that say in effect that ‘there is no name that can properly be assigned to Me’, the Self Existent (by Himself for Himself) who is independent of any concept (depending on the translation) are shockingly similar and equally profound, especially in light of the time of their reporting some 5000-years ago.
- The Burning Bush not consumed is another profound metaphor that begs consideration.
- And from John 1: “In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.” What could be more basic than use of “the Word” to try to describe the indescribable?
These esoteric references attempt to describe the divine nature of God’s name where such description is impossible. And they cannot be summarily dismissed just because they’re not scientific (they could not be). They deal with the spiritual (rather than physical) nature of being, traditions that Enlightenment science threw out along with religion (the baby with the bathwater, so to speak). We are dealing here with the infinite (boundless) and eternal (without end or beginning), where all points in time (the Was, Is and To Come) are equally real. The Infinite and Eternal are facts not easy to grasp, yet cannot be dismissed.
The secular science in vogue today is incomplete—it fails to recognize anything other than the physical, when clearly the spiritual enables it. Religion is not involved here; religion is simply another method of trying to eff the ineffable (as it were).
Nineteenth-Century science remains technological and mechanistic in its attempt to be values-free. As such it is amoral, a strong word but true nonetheless. Science as it is practiced cannot prove the existence of God; neither can it prove non-existence. Until it incorporates the spiritual (supernatural as well as the natural) aspect it will remain incomplete.
There must be a truth before the Universe—some basic power (dynamis) underlying the Universe that existed before it. Tradition calls it God—science has no name for it–but just because it can’t be described does not mean it’s not there.
Yes, God (the cause) IS, present in some dimension other than those we can describe. It can’t be otherwise—there has to be a cause.
There’s more to come, but I’d appreciate your thoughts on this short thesis. Really.