In the last post, we began our summary by noting the inconclusiveness of logical and subjective arguments for and against the existence of God, and revisiting our synthesis based on the question of why there is something instead of nothing, relationship with God, concerns regarding established religions, and the possibility of pantheism.
In the latter case of pantheism, there remains for us the hope that the universe may be the physical manifestation of a conscious being. If the human brain with its compact complexity has consciousness, perhaps the far more complex universe has consciousness not immediately apparent to us. In that case, the ultimate or totality of being of the Upanishads and Tillich, has a consciousness intertwined with its physical nature as occurs in humans. However, unlike us, it is indestructible as demonstrated by the laws of Thermodynamics and hence eternal. But perhaps it is also timeless as it includes facets (i.e. immaterial reality and its consciousness) beyond the physical universe where space-time is instantiated. In that case, our best means to understand God’s nature is by a combination of inspection (science) and introspection (meditation).
The philosopher, Daniel Robinson, in his lecture God-Really? expresses beautifully the choice between atheism and theism. He deploys pragmatism on the line of “inference to the best explanation- why is reality lawful, not lawless? A designer is the most logical explanation.” And then proceeds:
“One might ask …what one would chose as between a dead cosmos of meaningless statistical possibilities and one alive with promise and nurturing of hope. Now I would regard it as simply curmudgeonly to choose the former. Let me say it again we have these two choices,…we can choose to believe that the universe is a place of dead matter describable in purely statistical terms and having no point. There are arguments to that effect. But there are also warrants by way of Thomas Aquinas and many other arguments…for believing that the design feature, the nomic necessity, all of those things that allow one to negotiate space and time…offer ample evidence of design, intention, plan, intelligence. Remember that the Greek word, logos, can be translated as reason; it can be translated as a legal case. If two people are having a legal dispute in ancient Athens we would express the point of the dispute as its logos. And so the biblical phrase might have been translated not ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ but ‘In the beginning was the point of it all.’ There are good arguments for assuming the whole thing has a point, and that that point points ultimately to a divine and providential source. So that’s another conceivable scheme that we might entertain as to what the universe is all about. I choose that one. And so ‘God- really?’ Well, yeah –really.”
It is extremely tempting to follow Leibniz, Einstein, Becker, and Robinson. It is both more reasonable and more propitious to attribute the origin of everything to God as designer rather than austere chance. It corresponds better with the human disposition and offers more in terms of purpose, ethical foundation, contentment, and apotheosis… But the final decision remains to each alone.
1From A Conversation with Ernest Becker, Psychology Today, April 1974. Sam Keen interviewed Becker, the author of The Denial of Death, on his death bed.
2Robinson, Daniel R., The Great Ideas of Philosophy, Lecture 60: God-Really?. The Teaching Company, 2004.