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Old 11-26-2012, 02:43 PM   #273
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Originally Posted by donkhater View Post
I guess if your idea of a God is that he knows or cares about every day-to-day decision in your life, then I can see how you would believe that. That isn't inconsistent with the apparent views of some people of faith who say things are done 'by God's will' or 'only God knows'.

Again, I take a different point of view. I see God as having set the wheels in motion, not only from the standpoint of man but as it pertains to the laws of nature. This is how I can reconcile believing in both an evolutionary and creationist theory of life on Earth. Once the wheels are in motion, God lets the will of man decide his fate. He reveals Himself and His intentions through His creations--both in their thoughts and actions.

I'm not sure a social hierarchy is proof of morals, but your argument still begs the question: Where did this drive to propogate your own species come from? If we and other animals are derived from a mass of atoms, why would that evolved mass of atoms care if other masses of atoms even exist at all?
I don't feel that I can say for certain where they come from. But I do feel that it is in every living thing. Those attributes that help propagate the species are rewarded with increased reproduction and the passing on of those attributes. Those attributes which are detriment to the continuation of the species will eventually hamper that species and discourage propagation until extinction. Species that develop morality naturally over time, will help one another and develop into a supportive community. The progression of life itself rewards moral behavior. The fact that this pattern can be seen in countless species over billions of years tells me that religion has nothing to do with it.

This also touches on my personal view on God. I do not believe in an omnipotent or even a sentient God. My belief is that God and evolution are interchangeable. God is the pattern by which the universe works. The pattern by which all life follows. Deus sive Natura... God or Nature.

An interesting read on this would be Spinoza's Ethics. I think it highlights a lot of what we've discussed here. And touches on what you question when you try to fit Creationism and Evolution into the same universe.

Originally Posted by Spinoza's Ethics
"Whether we say…that all things happen according to the laws of nature, or are ordered by the decree and direction of God, we say the same thing."
Originally Posted by Spinoza's Ethics
In the universe anything that happens comes from the essential nature of objects, or of God/Nature. According to Spinoza, reality is perfection. If circumstances are seen as unfortunate it is only because of our inadequate conception of reality. While components of the chain of cause and effect are not beyond the understanding of human reason, human grasp of the infinitely complex whole is limited because of the limits of science to empirically take account of the whole sequence. Spinoza also asserted that sense perception, though practical and useful for rhetoric, is inadequate for discovering universal truth; Spinoza's mathematical and logical approach to metaphysics, and therefore ethics, concluded that emotion is formed from inadequate understanding. His concept of "conatus" states that human beings' natural inclination is to strive toward preserving an essential being and an assertion that virtue/human power is defined by success in this preservation of being by the guidance of reason as one's central ethical doctrine. According to Spinoza, the highest virtue is the intellectual love or knowledge of God/Nature/Universe.

In the final part of the "Ethics", his concern with the meaning of "true blessedness", and his explanation of how emotions must be detached from external cause and so master them, give some prediction of psychological techniques developed in the 1900s. His concept of three types of knowledge – opinion, reason, intuition – and his assertion that intuitive knowledge provides the greatest satisfaction of mind, lead to his proposition that the more we are conscious of ourselves and Nature/Universe, the more perfect and blessed we are (in reality) and that only intuitive knowledge is eternal. His unique contribution to understanding the workings of mind is extraordinary, even during this time of radical philosophical developments, in that his views provide a bridge between religions' mystical past and psychology of the present day.

Given Spinoza's insistence on a completely ordered world where "necessity" reigns, Good and Evil have no absolute meaning. The world as it exists looks imperfect only because of our limited perception.
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