Sunday, October 30, 2005

Existence of God and linguistic contradictions

This article is not about programming, and is philosophical in nature.

Pascal rejected Descartes application of his axiomatic system to the proof of existence of God. After all, there is no more primitive axiom than accepting the existence of a creator. Despite the main theme of Existentialism, i.e. rejection of systematic proof of main ideas, Jean-Paul Sartre proves the lack of existence of God via a contradiction.

Sartre’s contradiction is that, in order to create himself God must have existed before his own existence. As the word indicates, contradiction is a characteristic of our linguistic interpretations of existence. Descartes axiomatic system, like any of our creations has a specific domain of application, as clearly indicated by Pascal.

The literal meaning of creation is to bring something into existence from nothing. However, the only justifiable absolute is that nothing comes out of nothing. Louis Pasteur did not have easy time demonstrating that bricks do not create scorpion. Bertrand Russell failed to derive all of mathematics from logic alone. It turned out that we actually needed a mathematical entity, such as the empty set to start with. We can list a large number of names that showed us the opposite as well. What exists does not vanish, it simply transforms.

Start with ourselves and assume that we miraculously continue to exist for a few billion years, perpetually evolving. Considering the recent declaration of war by the Iranian President I would rather believe in Armageddon. After all, President Bush needs excuses to justify his occupation of the White House. Nevertheless, a few billion years from now, it would be quite correct to say that we created ourselves. It seems reasonable to assume that, what we will be then will have no resemblance to our current form.

Billions of years of existence may not qualify a being for God. Our universe, as a tiny black hole in another universe, blew out making a big bang. It seemed absurd to assume that the entire existence was sitting idle forever and suddenly decided to create a universe. So, we came up with the theory of repeated big bangs.

It is just as absurd to assume that our bounded universe is the whole existence. In each big bang a quark or two will find their path perpendicular to our universe and will vanish into nowhere land. This can happen regardless of force fields and whatever else, unless quarks also get homesick. Thus, before the big bang that created our universe all quarks would have disappeared into loneliness.

The first conclusion is that, contrary to Hilbert’s belief existence is unbounded. The second conclusion is that, our universe is no more than a particle in the limitlessness of existence. However, that does not imply that we are nothing either. But the main point here is that the existence, whatever it is, has always been and God could have been just as He says, “I am”. The time of His becoming may not be expressible by our, or any number system.

Existentialism comprises of vast literature. A central point of the philosophy is our ability to choose, and the consequences of choices we make. All philosophical doctrines and areas of science should continue to evolve. So, the point I am making is not against Existentialism. However, Jesus without access to a fancy library, and while being arrested, summarized the whole idea in one simple statement. One who draws sword shall be killed with sword.

Morris Meterling says something like, had God endowed a horse with intelligence it would portray God as Pegasus. A thousand years before him, Khayam asks the question, “What is the difference between me and you if you hurt me for my bad deeds?”. And a thousand years before him Jesus gives us the answer in the Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps God created us in His image by endowing us with intelligence so we can make choices beyond our instinctive drives. That could be the whole extent of our resemblence to God. It seems reasonable that along with the ability to choose, here and there He also showed us better choices.

Existentialism also dismisses any generality of the notion of good and evil. In some context the claim is correct, as is the case with just about everything that Freud said. However, at a time that we made laws to protect the interests of Kings, Caesars and Pharaohs, Moses brings the Ten Commandments. I would expect something more like, “One who scratches a Jew shalt be beheaded”. But the Commandments are abstract and universal. Furthermore, Jesus relieved us from ever increasing procedures for pleasing God. He illustrated the way of life with His teachings and life.

We still exist mainly for the sacrifices made by believers, in particular the followers of the Way of Jesus. A person seeking profit and control would do what Mussolini did to Africa, not what monks did. Whether or not a creator exists, our ability to think, so we may continue to exist depends on our choice to walk the peaceful path outlined by Jesus.

Candy Lizard would love to make a Genghis Khan out of President Bush, or more appropriately, George Khan. We are lucky to live in a time frame that Constitution cannot be violated to unjustifiable extents.

My life has been a sequence of painful experiences for closely following the catechism that I was taught at childhood. Nonetheless, so far I have no regrets whatsoever. May it remain so for another moment. Perhaps I should mention that I cannot convince myself of another life. But I find no pride in rejecting God and His ways, either.

Dr. Z.

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Blogger mithrandir77 said...

you said "my life has been a series of painful consequences for following the catechism i was taught at childhood". [not an exact quote] - -i certainly can identify with this. ... ...
{{I never intended to publish the first comment, and regretted it afterward, but it was too late. Now all I can do to fix it is delete my profile on blogspot. [some call it "blog splot".] Might as well comment again. You probably never check this anyway, but if you do, you might get a "kick" out of seeing that someone actually commented. ha!}}

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok I see you view the ten commandments as "abstract and universal." --- I guess the only exception might be (out of the ten, I mean), the command about keeping the sabbath. I wonder if you would consider that one to be universal as well? Or only for those who are biologically Jewish? - personally I hesitate to give an opinion on it because i probably tend to give that commandment less importance or heed.

10:08 AM  

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