Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Beginnings of a Philosophy: Part I
Outline of Belief System
Outline of Belief System
Part I: Man
· The Universe exists, and it exists in Time.
· The Universe contains all of the physical reality we can perceive, including Time, Life and
· No mere Man can tell us why the Universe, Man and Life exist.
· Man exists.
· Man is mortal.
· Man is sentient and reasoning and is thus manifestly different from sentient but limited-reasoning animals, and certainly different from to plant life and inanimate objects. Man has been given dominance over all lower life-forms by God.
· Man perceives that the Universe exists through his senses and instruments, but both imperfectly, and incompletely. Man senses a “human reality” rather than a perfect reality.
· Man is capable of rational thinking and reasoning.
· Man is born with certain innate capabilities and ideas, including instinctive behavior, the idea of God, a sense of morality, and a sense of learning. He is not a tabula rasa. This is added conformation of the grace of God, in my opinion. It is most likely that this innate knowledge is inherited at the earliest formation of a fetus; hence a fetus carries the messages of its elements, cells, genes and DNA from conception onward.
Parenthetically, it may be observed that abortion kills all of the information that would have been used as a person is created. This is murder.
· Man uses reason to analyze acquired data, determine its truth value, and then to store the knowledge that results for future use. Man conceives immaterial things as well, but cannot be certain of their existence or their exact definition. ( i.e. what is justice?)
· Man has positive-emotional, spiritual, mystical, altruistic and loving capabilities.
· Man has negative-emotional, egotistical, selfish, envy-driven, amoral and evil capabilities.
· God exists. The modal argument for His existence is as follows:
1) God’s existence is either necessary or logically impossible.
2) It is not impossible for God to exist, and there is no contradiction in assuming that He does exist.
Therefore, 3) God necessarily exists. --- K. Gödel
· God, the Prime Mover, created the Universe, Life and Man in His own way, for His own purposes and in His own time. This is not to deny the findings of cosmological investigations that theorize the Universe we know was born by a Big Bang some 13 or 14 billion years ago, and that the Universe is expanding.
· At the instant of the Big Bang, cosmologists theorize that the laws of physics as we know them could not have been operative, unless the theory of Branes colliding in an eleven-dimensional space, and the existence of an infinite number of parallel universes proves to be valid. They also theorize that Time did not begin with the Big Bang, and that Big Bangs are a common feature of the Universes. There are unknowns here that science cannot yet explain.
There is an infinite regression in these explanations, as is shown by asking where all of these Branes and Universes came from, and then where that answer came from, and so on, ad infinitum. (This is not to claim any proof of God’s existence, but simply to sketch some current boundaries of the knowable.)
· The Total Reality of God and His Universe is quite beyond Man’s comprehension, and it will remain so. The questions of what was there before our Universe existed, and why the Universe came into being are unanswerable, except for the Prime Mover explanation. The ego of Man finds it difficult to accept the ultimate boundaries of what is knowable, what is timeless and what is infinite.
· Man comprehends some of reality through the sensing, information gathering, development, and test of models of the objects, characteristics, relationships and behaviors of “things” in the Universe. These models predict with more or less accuracy the future states of “things” based on the model’s assumed or known past states and projected state changes. The validity of these models hinges critically on man-made definitions and assumptions.
· This symbolic and mathematical modeling and testing is the foundation of physics, chemistry, biology and the use of the scientific method: inductive and deductive reasoning; hypothesis and test; plus independent repetition and confirmation of tests.
· Our search for knowledge is both beneficial and necessary for the survival and comfort of
· Man’s forever imperfect models of reality are obviously not reality itself, no matter how verified the science becomes. A theory remains a theory. Darwinian evolution is a perfect example.
· Epistemic knowledge of the Universe is bounded by the resolution of instruments, the speed of light, uncertainty and relativity. We act most often AS IF we possessed certain and justified truth.
· Man has Free Will.
· Man has a Conscience.
· Man’s purpose in life is to realize his highest spiritual being.
· Man’s moral obligation to himself, to others, to society and to God exists. His morality consists of three parts: consideration of consequences; consideration of maximizing good will and good intentions; and, practicing the virtues of the moral man.
· Man’s moral obligation to himself is survival, virtue, and enlightened and rational self-interest for himself, his wife and children, and his extended family. The Socratic “know thyself” is the first step.
· Man’s moral obligation to others is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule is the ultimate rule from which a host of other rules have been derived.
· Man’s moral obligation to society is to obey the law, and to assume and to carry out the duties and responsibilities of good citizenship. His actions must reflect the possibility that they could become a Universal Law (the Categorical Imperative of Kant.).
· Man’s moral obligation to God is to follow the Natural Laws and received wisdom of God, especially:
- Beneficence & Benevolence
- Duties to husband or wife, parents and elders
- Duties to children and posterity
- Good faith and veracity
- God’s Word-- as given in the Holy Bible. This is the Devine Command theory.
· The Christian Holy Bible is the Word of God, but
one must be take into account that:
The text was translated and edited a number of times by different people from its original verbal form to a written language, and then to other languages, with some highly significant changes of meaning and emphasis occurring in the process.
The selection of books for inclusion or exclusion was voted upon by men.
Many of the ideas expressed in the Bible were also found in more ancient texts, sometimes word for word, such as in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
· Accepting the King James Version of the Bible, or any other version, literally and without well-founded linguistic and theological interpretation, is fraught with serious error, for the reasons given above. Literal interpretations are quite possibly flawed, and give rise to senseless religious distortions, such as snake worship, for example. This is a valid reason for seeking theological guidance.
· Miracles are a factor in Christianity. They happen.
· A major spiritual goal of man’s life is to practice the supreme virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
· Most men strive to be good, and to act with the virtues of justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude in addition to the supreme virtues stated above, as well as acting with the many other positive virtues man has identified as good. There is a “Virtue Ethic” that exists regardless of religion.
Major virtues in addition to those above include:
Loyalty, Moderation, Kindness, Humanity, Friendliness, Patriotism, Selflessness, Love, Reason,
Knowledge, Truth, Wisdom, Honesty, Honor, Integrity,
Family values, Citizenship, Learning, Courage, Comity,
Spirituality, Modesty, and Morality.
“Virtue is happiness!” ---Socrates
· Man strives to create, shape and maintain a hierarchical set of intrinsic values, including:
Spiritual: Reverence, Love
Human: Constructive Achievement, Understanding,
Fair Treatment, Moral Integrity,
Aesthetic Apperception, Human Association.
Organic: Eating, Drinking, Gregariousness, Sex, Fight,
Flight, Breathing, Exercise, Rest,
· Man has an inalienable right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and equality of opportunity. He has no right by mere virtue of his existence to equality of outcome.
· Men are not created equal in talent, capability, strength, or intellect. They are created equal before the law. Men of high talent, capability, strength, and intellect must be the leaders of the society.
· Man’s essence is his soul, which remains with him regardless of the physical changes of life.
· Good and evil exist in man’s life, both within himself and in his environment.
· Some men have a distorted and evil set of values and motives and will perform evil or unjust acts. These evil acts redound against both themselves and others, often catastrophically. Evil men must be restrained, punished, or rendered utterly incapable of such acts. In the extreme, death is warranted.
· Moral conflicts exist between man and himself, man and man, man and society, and society against society.
· Man must understand, evaluate, balance and resolve his own conflicting moral imperatives and values. Perhaps his greatest personal challenge is always to act with integrity.
· Man forms and joins groups, associations, institutions, religions and societies to reduce conflicts, and to enhance the likelihood of human survival and success through mutually agreed principles and actions. He conforms to these principles and actions of his own free will.
(Further Parts to follow)