Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sed Contra I

To begin to try to reply to the difficulties I set below.

Whatever science discovers there remains the quite real problem of why anything exists rather than nothing at all.

Some religious traditions have not taken this as a major issue - the Buddha supposedly said that if the house was burning down (i.e. if suffering exists) why bother to find out who built the house. Nevertheless, the question of why something rather than nothing remains important.

Note that, even if certain far eddies of science manage to show that we live in one of many universes, or that all matter and energy were created in a kind of random quantum action, the question would remain as to why anything rather than nothing. I suppose that it might be possible to reject all notions of causation.

If we take the position that the ultimate explanation for there being anything rather than nothing is X, then that X would be insufficient if it were not the explanation of its own existence. It is this X that I and other religious people want to identify as God.

Note that any notion of a god who is responsible for this Universe, but requires an explanation for its own existence is not the God of western theism.

It is true that there are very many different varieties of credal religion, but the God who is the ground of being, to use an old phrase, is the same universal God of ALL varieties of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism; the same God as the God of philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Spinoza, and Kant; the same God as the God of Stoics and Deists; and the same notion of the absolute found in certain forms of Buddhism (i.e. the Adibuddha concept). In other words, I would claim that assent to the idea of such an argument for God cannot be put down to mere issues of an individual's upbringing.

The X as answer to the ultimate question can not, on this consideration alone, be understood as the personal God of Christianity, Judaism, or Christianity. Belief and faith in a personal God requires further considerations. But, in so far as the question of why anything exists rather than nothing at all remains a serious question, then intellectual assent to the idea of a ground of being is also a serious answer.

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