What’s your worldview?

In my last post, I gave two very different worldviews and asked which one appeals to you. The first one was from Richard Dawkins, which represented a naturalist worldview. The second one was from C. Baxter Kruger, which represented a Christian Trinitarian worldview. 

Since no one picked Dawkins’s view, I’m assuming we don’t prefer one that’s purposeless, blind, pitiless, and indifferent. You obviously know my view. But I only gave you a choice between those two views last time and there are many other worldviews, so perhaps you could share what “particular philosophy of life or conception of the world” you personally prefer.

Let me be clear. This is not meant to be a debate about who is right. And, besides, there’s no way to prove whose view is right anyway. Some views will be more plausible than others, and many have much in common that we can probably agree on whether we believe in God or not. The point is, I genuinely want to understand how you see the world around you. I want to learn from you.

So, philosophically speaking, what is your ontology? How do you make sense of reality? And why is this important to you?

Please keep the comments respectful and as concise as possible. Any links in your comments automatically go into moderation, but I will allow them if they are relevant to explaining your worldview. Any disrespectful links or comments will go into the trash.

I look forward to what  you have to say. Thank you.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 38 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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54 Responses to What’s your worldview?

  1. john zande says:

    Since no one picked Dawkins’s view, I’m assuming we don’t prefer one that’s purposeless, blind, pitiless, and indifferent.

    Of course no one would pick that, as presented. You are ignoring people who hold a naturalist position, but whose life is FULL of purpose, wide-eyed, hopeful, merciful, and goal-orientated.

    But of course, that’s not the pantomime you wanted to present, is it.

    So I can ask my question here, correct?

    Would you be happy with Panpsychism being true? Would it’s truth be appealing to you?

    • Rebecca says:

      John, can you explain more fully panpychism, and why this appeals to you? Also, I wonder if this has any connection at all to panentheism, or Whitehead’s process theology?

      Also, and I’m observing this with openness and sincerity, I know people too who in the middle of a naturalistic kind of world view who are hopeful, purposeful, and merciful. And, I think this is great. We can find common ground.

      But, I wonder if this is the logical end result of this world view in an objective sense, or if it occurs by intention for other reasons in spite of the world view?

      • john zande says:

        I asked Mel if it was appealing to him, as per his previous post concerning appeal. This is in light of the probable truth of it, as expressed, for example, in the recent article: “Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true”. There are many interpretations of panpsychism, from the Greeks to Buddhism to Neuroscience. Contemporarily, it is perhaps best expressed in Integrated Information Theory.

        To your last point, are you pleased/grateful you live in a world that has, for example, air and clean water laws, laws against childhood labor, consumer protections, women’s right to vote? I’m guessing you are grateful, and they are all the result not of you, but people before you who had the courage and conviction to make the world a better place… even if they didn’t get to directly experience it in their life.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Of course no one would pick that, as presented. You are ignoring people who hold a naturalist position, but whose life is FULL of purpose, wide-eyed, hopeful, merciful, and goal-orientated.

      Of course, and no one should listen to anything Dawkins says outside of the field of biology. I think his morbid, hopeless worldview makes that case. Because your “life is FULL of purpose, wide-eyed, hopeful, merciful, and goal-orientated” totally contradicts what Dawkins is postulating.

      On Panpsychism, since I was the one asking the question here, would panpsychism describe your ontology, John? And if so, why do you prefer it to other views?

      • john zande says:

        So you won’t answer, even though you promised.

        OK. Well done.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nice try, John. That dog won’t hunt outside your echo chambers. It seems more like you won’t answer. This is my post, not yours.

          But yes, I can comment on panpsychism, and will since you keep asking about it, but first I want to know if this is your ontological worldview.

        • john zande says:

          You promised to answer, but now refuse. Enough said. You lied. Fair enough. So be it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I said I would answer your question, John. So, you’re lying. I first wanted to know if this is your worldview and not just your pantomime you play on Christian sites. Just answer the question (which is the point of the post) and I can give my take on panpsychism. Fair enough?

        • john zande says:

          It’s plausible. It’s certainly where the hard evidence of 13.8 billion years points, and as Professor Goff says, it is“most probably true.” No objective person in the world has, after all, ever said, Christianity is most probably true, or Hinduism is most probably true, or Zoroastrianism is most probably true. There’s a reason for that, and there is also a reason why boatloads of very bright people, from Penrose to Koch to Tegmark, fall in with Goff, convinced it is, in one shape or another, true. Duke University’s Professor Adrian Bejan’s Constructal Law of design and evolution in nature can even be seen as a kind of unifying theory, a new law of physics, as his work has been heralded.

          An ancient idea revisited, the problem is in determining what, exactly, is the core of it. Everyone is circling the same thing, but expressing it (and their evidence) in ever so slightly different ways…. usually depending on their expertise.

          Neuroscientist Koch (IIT) calls it integrated information:

          “Even simple matter has a modicum of Φ [integrated information]. Protons and neutrons consist of a triad of quarks that are never observed in isolation. They constitute an infinitesimal integrated system … The entire cosmos is suffused with sentience. We are surrounded and immersed in consciousness; it is in the air we breathe, the soil we tread on, the bacteria that colonize our intestines, and the brain that enables us to think.”

          Whereas cosmologist Tegmark (whom I remember you citing recently as a highly credible authority) goes even further, proposing that like a solid, a liquid, or a gas, consciousness is not just integrated information, but rather a state of matter; a fourth state that has until now eluded scientific investigation but is material, measurable and mathematically verifiable.

          “I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness”

          In one shape, form or another, some of the world’s leading neuroscientists, cosmologists, physicists, mathematicians, biologists, evolutionary biologists, and philosophers all seem to have great (and increasing) confidence in the idea, and given the evidence, I can certainly see why. In fact, Goff made his recent announcement without even looking at what I would consider the strongest evidence for it: cosmological/biological/memetic evolution.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for answering the question, John.

          It’s plausible. It’s certainly where the hard evidence of 13.8 billion years points, and as Professor Goff says, it is “most probably true.” No objective person in the world has, after all, ever said, Christianity is most probably true, or Hinduism is most probably true, or Zoroastrianism is most probably true.

          You’re trading a lot on one comment from one article, John, when you say “it’s probably true.” It could also be false. But, nonetheless, from my perspective I think panpsychism is a step in the right direction, moving away from the totally untenable ontology of materialism. What scientists like Chalmers, Goff, and others are finding is that we cannot reduce consciousness down further to be part of some other property. It’s now thought by a growing number of scientists and philosophers to be another fundamental property, like space, time, matter, etc. We must deal with consciousness the same way we talk these other material properties in the cosmos.

          But there are problems with panpsychism that I believe Bernardo Kastrup brings up. There’s a whole lot he’s written about it and lectured on. I will mention a couple of things here.

          Kastrup defines panpsychism by looking at two basic interpretations: 1) one suggests consciousness is a fundamental property of matter just like mass and charge, etc. (Chalmers), and 2) the other suggests that consciousness is intrinsic to matter–that it does not inhere in matter alongside other properties like mass and charge, but that these properties are just the external faces of what, from the inside, experiences itself as conscious.

          He outlines why he thinks panpsyschism is not a sufficient ontological explanation in the this video clip: “Nondualism and the fallacies of panpsychism and artificial sentience.” It’s rather long but a good explanation of his views. I may do a post on this in the future because it’s worth investigating.

          Kastrup’s nondualist view differs in that while panpsychism says that consciousness is in all matter, he believes it’s a better explanation to say that all matter is in consciousness. It’s not fragmented bits of consciousness in all matter but all matter is part of one consciousness. You can watch the clip for a more thorough explanation.

          Kastrup said this in his book, “Why Materialism is Baloney”:

          The problem with panpsychism is, of course, that there is precisely zero evidence that any inanimate object is conscious. To resolve an abstract, theoretical problem of the materialist metaphysics one is forced to project onto the whole of nature a property – namely, consciousness – which observation only allows to be inferred for a tiny subset of it – namely, living beings. This is, in a way, an attempt to make nature conform to theory, as opposed to making theory conform to nature. (p.19)

          I got this quote from this article by Kastrup.

          From the little bit I understand, I believe Kastrup has a better argument.

          Anyway, these emerging hypotheses about consciousness are interesting and actually encouraging to me. I can see where they make sense with what I perceive about the world.

        • john zande says:

          moving away from the totally untenable ontology of materialism.

          Huh? It is materialism. Pure and 100% materialism. Do you not read? Tegmark, for example, calls it a Fourth state of matter. Matter, Mel… the material world, quantifiable and measurable.

          Kastrup is a computer engineer. That does not make him exactly qualified to talk about matter/mind/physics/biology/neuroscience/QM.

          The “problems” with panpsychism are not, however, with its explanatory model, but rather that there are still many questions as to how that model comes together. This is an engineering problem, not a theoretical one. Like I said, 13.8 billion years of cosmological/biological/memetic evolution all point to it being true.

          But all that aside… I asked you a question. You still have not answered it.

          If true, would you find panpsychism appealing? Could you embrace it, and be completely happy?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Nice try dismissing Kastrup. Sorry, but no cigar. Kastrup is just as qualified to talk about this as Tegmark and the others. He speaks at many of the same conferences these others speak at.

          Bernardo Kastrup has a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering with specializations in artificial intelligence and reconfigurable computing. He has worked as a scientist in some of the world’s foremost research laboratories, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Philips Research Laboratories (where the “Casimir Effect” of Quantum Field Theory was discovered). Bernardo has authored many academic papers and books on philosophy and science.

          From Kastrup’s website here.

          JohnZ said:

          If true, would you find panpsychism appealing? Could you embrace it, and be completely happy?

          Sure, I don’t have a problem with panpsychism in principle. But we’ll see where it lands. I think Kastrup makes some pretty devastating arguments against panpsychism, starting with the current fact that there is ZERO evidence that an inanimate object is conscious. Way too early to say it’s true in any meaningful way.

        • john zande says:

          He speaks at many of the same conferences these others speak at.

          Really? I’ve never heard of him, and I know this subject very well.

          He doesn’t even seem to understand what panpsychism even is in relation to interpretations such as that found in Integrated Information Theory. No one is claiming a proton is conscious, not as we understand consciousness, which is the pantomime he seems to be trying to imply… and you have so foolishly repeated here in your comment. He doesn’t even understand Tegmark’s position, which makes your apologia here just ludicrously misinformed.

          It’s complexity, Mel… compounding complexity. Materialism.

          Anyway, I’m really not concerned with him. He hasn’t had any papers published on the matter, just a few Youtube videos, so he’s just a sideshow.

          To the question, your answer is Sure, You’d be fine with it being true. You’d be fine with embracing pure materialism, no Jesus, no cosmic overseer, no externally-imposed “meaning”?

          Fair enough.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Right, John. You’re the expert. Haha. Whatever. If you’ve never heard of Kastrup you need to get out of your echo chamber more and check out opposing views.

          To the question, your answer is Sure, You’d be fine with it being true. You’d be fine with embracing pure materialism, no Jesus, no cosmic overseer, no externally-imposed “meaning”?
          Fair enough.

          And are you fine pretending that panpsychism is the answer to your materialist hopes when, in actual fact, fact that there is ZERO evidence that an inanimate object is conscious? John, this is a central tenet of panpsychism. The little part that turns out to “not be true” may be what makes the hypothesis false.

          So, no, I would not be fine embracing pure materialism because, to me, it’s totally untenable and, to quote, Kastrup, baloney. If panpsychism “pans” out, there will need to be some serious adjustments and it won’t be proving materialism. But if you want to stick your head in the sand and only believe in materialism, so be it. Like I said, this post is not meant to be a debate. You are free to believe whatever you want.

        • john zande says:

          So, you think a computer engineer (who isn’t even working in a university, but does have a Facebook page, a few YouTube videos, and a self-published book) is better qualified to comment on the nature of matter than a tenured Professor of Physics at MIT, a Duke University tenured Professor of evolutionary biology, and, say, a tenured Professor of neuroscience at MIT and Chief Scientific Officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science?

          I see.

          Listen, I have nothing against this Bernado. Like I said, I’d never even heard of the guy, and if he is investigating interesting matters, then good on him. I wish him luck. What I’m not a particular fan of is you, Mel, presenting less-than-credible personalities and trying to pass them off as somehow authorities which we should all bow down to. You did this exact thing on our discussion about the Exodus. And then, when you’re called on it, you throw a silly tantrum.

          And are you fine pretending that panpsychism is the answer to your materialist hopes when, in actual fact, fact that there is ZERO evidence that an inanimate object is conscious?

          I believe I said panpsychism is ‘plausible’. I believe I said 13.8 billion years of cosmological/biological/memetic evolution all point to it being true, especially when we superimpose this HISTORICAL REALITY with Bejan’s Constructal Law of design and evolution in nature, which is virtually overflowing with evidence. Koch points to Φ (Phi) as evidence on Integrated Information everywhere. Penrose, arguably one of the greatest physicists of all time, points to QM, saying:

          “The laws of physics produce complex systems, and these complex systems lead to consciousness, which then produces mathematics, which can then encode in a succinct and inspiring way the very underlying laws of physics that gave rise to it.”

          Pure materialism. Quantifiable.

          So no, Mel, your ZERO is laughably absurd. The problem in proving panpsychism is an engineering problem, not a theoretical one. The evidence is virtually everywhere.

          So, no, I would not be fine embracing pure materialism because, to me, it’s totally untenable

          Then you lied. You would not, in fact, be fine if panpsychism were true. You need the cosmic overseer, need an externally-imposed meaning, which is fine. Personally, I find that to be an irresponsible, childlike position, reflective a frightened person who finds existence overwhelming. But, if it brings you comfort, then so be it. You have to sleep with yourself at night, not me.

        • Mel Wild says:

          So no, Mel, your ZERO is laughably absurd. The problem in proving panpsychism is an engineering problem, not a theoretical one. The evidence is virtually everywhere.

          And this is patently false, John. I don’t think you understand the difference between bits of information and actual consciousness. This is the problem that Kastrop ran into in his research in Artificial Intelligence at CERN and the Philips Research Laboratories (where the “Casimir Effect” of Quantum Field Theory was discovered). This IS his field of expertise. He’s not just some computer programmer. It was his research in AI that led him to conclude that materialism is untenable. Yes, there’s lots of information bits in material things, but there is ZERO evidence that any inanimate object has actual consciousness. Of course, you can prove me wrong. I won’t hold my breath.

          Btw, you can read his published papers here: http://www.bernardokastrup.com/p/philosophy.html

        • john zande says:

          You’re confusing intelligence and consciousness… and don’t forget, we don’t yet even KNOW what consciousness is. That, Mel, is the “hard problem.” That’s the whole crux of the matter, the central issue, yet here you are seemingly trying to say all that’s been solved.

          Nice copy and paste of Bernardo’s bio. And no, Mel, he didn’t research AI at CERN. CERN is a particle accelerator, where he worked as a computer engineer on the facilities IT systems. That was also his position at Philips. He didn’t research QM there as that little bit tries to imply. To be honest, that bit of ‘name dropping’ made me laugh. It’s akin to me trying to claim I’m an expert in theoretical astrophysics because I taught political science at the same university where astronomers discovered the universe’s oldest star.

          And no, Mel, those are not “published” papers. It’s academia.edu. I have papers “published” on academia.edu. It’s an open platform, not a journal, and not peer reviewed.

          Listen, this is all very strange. All I originally asked, as it related to your previous post, was if panpsychism were shown to be true, would it appeal to you. That’s it. I wasn’t asking you to disprove it. I wasn’t looking to talk about it in any detail. I certainly wasn’t interested in critiquing a blogger/Youtuber who has some thoughts on the matter, but whom you, for some unknown reason, think everyone should accept as some legitimate expert. I simply asked if you would feel comfortable with it. This whole song and dance is entirely your making, Mel.

          You’ve answered the question: you wouldn’t be comfortable with it. It doesn’t appeal to you.

          Fine.

        • Mel Wild says:

          …and don’t forget, we don’t yet even KNOW what consciousness is. That, Mel, is the “hard problem.” That’s the whole crux of the matter, the central issue, yet here you are seemingly trying to say all that’s been solved.

          No, I didn’t try to say it’s all solved, John. I said quite the opposite. I totally agree that we don’t even know what consciousness is. We just know that it is real. It’s far from being solved. You are the one who was copying and pasting from one article saying that panpsychism is “probably true.” You came across like it’s pretty much decided. It’s FAR from decided.

          CERN is a particle accelerator, where he worked as a computer engineer on the facilities IT systems.

          Here’s a copy and paste for you from CERN website:

          “CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works.

          CERN is a LOT more than a particle accelerator.

          Listen, this is all very strange. All I originally asked, as it related to your previous post, was if panpsychism were shown to be true, would it appeal to you.

          It’s not strange. You didn’t simply ask me the question, John. You went on with your own copy and paste quotes and very long comment about how everyone who’s important is gushing over panpsychism. I responded by saying it’s not all that. We cannot prove or disprove anything here. But then you spent the rest of your time trying to discredit Kastrup, which I didn’t do to your sources. Yes, Kastrup is not a professor in some ivory tower; he actually works in the field. And I’m not against professors, but they aren’t the only ones who know anything about this.

          You’ve answered the question: you wouldn’t be comfortable with it. It doesn’t appeal to you.
          Fine.

          Not quite what I said. Let me clarify what I meant. I said that if panpsychism was found to be true, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Dealing with consciousness is a step in the right direction. BUT I personally doubt very much if it will ever found to be true. From what I can see and have read, it’s materialist scientists attempting to make something non-material a material thing. As Kastrup said, trying to make nature conform to a theory rather than constructing a theory from nature. I believe Kastrup’s explanation is more plausible. But he could be wrong. that’s my perspective. You can certainly disagree.

        • john zande says:

          You keep demonstrating that you don’t actually know what modern thoughts on panpsychism even are.

          CERN is a nuclear physics lab. They DO NOT research AI there. Period.

          It’s not strange. You didn’t simply ask me the question, John

          Yes, I did simply ask that question. On your previous post, and then on this one.

          You went on with your own copy and paste quotes and very long comment about how everyone who’s important is gushing over panpsychism.

          Are you kidding? Yes, because YOU demanded I give you my position on it before you would honour me with an answer.

          Not quite what I said.

          On your second thought, after being shown that it is materialism, it is EXACTLY what you said:

          So, no, I would not be fine embracing pure materialism because, to me, it’s totally untenable

          From what I can see and have read, it’s materialist scientists attempting to make something non-material a material thing.

          Talk about presuppositions. And no Mel, they are just scientists trying to solve the hard problem of consciousness. Stop your stupid name calling.

          Anyway, after traversing a pointlessly convoluted path, I finally heard your answer… and that was pretty much the total extent of my interest in discussing this subject with you. For emotional reasons, not evidential ones, you don’t feel comfortable with panpsychism. I understand. Thanks.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, you are right about everything, John. Are you happy now? Just let it go.

        • john zande says:

          Great work, Mel. DEMAND someone present their position on something before you will answer a simple question, then abuse them for presenting their position. Nice.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Just let it go, John. Sheesh! What’s the matter with you?

  2. Hiya Mel! Thanks for the opportunity to share my worldview.

    I live with a troubling predicament. On the one hand there is my Christian faith; my love for the gospel and the Christian Scriptures, and my profound fear of God. On the other hand, there’s my views concerning the nature of God and how He is in control of everything that happens. For me, God’s omnipresence necessarily implies that there is no free will, which is a very un-Christian belief.

    So my spiritual journey and my writing reflects these two conflicting trains of thought.

    • Hi Steven,

      I’m not Mel, but maybe I can help? God created us with free will to choose to either obey him or not. He knows everything that’s going to happen, but just like in the Garden of Eden, we still get to choose what we want to do.

      Let me give you an example: say God calls you to be a pastor, and His plan is that you would become the greatest pastor of all time and preach to millions and millions of people over the course of your life. That’s His plan, but you choose to ignore it. God still wants those people to be preached to, but He can just as easily use another person to do His will if you won’t.

      Does that make sense? Sometimes I don’t make sense when I think I do.

      • Hi there Fed-Up Christian,

        Thank you for your thoughtful comment. The problem is I don’t believe we do have free will, because I believe God is omnipresent. Omnipresence means there is no atom anywhere in existence that isn’t a part of God and therefore under God’s control. I believe God is not only the creator, but also the sustainer and animator of everything in existence. To deny this, I believe, is to place boundaries on God that in reality He doesn’t have.

        I’m sorry to disagree with you but perhaps you understand my perspective.

        Best wishes,

        Steven

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Steven. Thanks for your comments.

      I have a question about your perdicament. You said:

      For me, God’s omnipresence necessarily implies that there is no free will, which is a very un-Christian belief.

      Why do you believe that omnipresence necessitates no free will? The reason I ask is that even God’s sovereignty doesn’t imply that God’s can’t make the world any way He wants, including sovereignly deciding to give human beings free will. Thanks again.

      • Hi Mel,

        Many thanks for your response. I believe God is literally omnipresent, so there are no boundaries to His being, meaning He isn’t separate from existence but is sustaining and controlling every atom. I believe it’s impossible to be free from God in the way you present. He beats my heart, flows my blood, makes thoughts arise in my mind, digests my food, grows my hair, etc. He is able to do this whether I am London or on the moon. That’s because He is literally everywhere, causing all events to unfold in accordance with His will.

        The crux of the matter is we seem to differ in our understanding of who or what God is (I’m not sure what you believe God’s attributes are?).

        I hope that makes sense and answers your question.

        Thank you so much.

        Steven

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, thanks for clarifying Steven. I, too, believe that God sustains everything, but that He sustains it in a way that also makes room for us. I don’t personally see where omnipresence and sovereignty necessarily forces God to prevent free will. God Himself has free will and could freely choose to give us a limited form of free will and still accomplish His purposes. Maybe autonomy is a better word. But I believe He did this because He is love. And other-centered, self-giving Love requires free will, to give, receive or reject. Certainly, we cannot escape Him or do anything outside of His omnipresence, and He knows the end from the beginning so He knows what we will do in time. But I don’t believe God wants automatons either. He wants sons and daughters who will partner with Him on the earth. So He gives us freedom within His omnipresence. The Bible also seems to be full of stories of people choosing or rejecting God’s will for them. That’s why I don’t think omnipresence and free will have to necessarily be mutually exclusive.

          That’s my take on it, anyway. I’m sure we won’t settle this age-old question here! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your view. I really appreciate it. Blessings.

  3. Carburn says:

    I believe our human knowledge of our infinite universe is so astronomically small that it is unreasonable for anyone to prove or disprove any religion or non-religion. I believe that all belief therefore is simultaneously false and true. In essence I view faith as one big Schrödinger’s Cat. I wouldn’t describe myself as an agnostic, because I believe that even the act of neither believing nor disbelieving is bound to be false as well. The closest thing I can describe myself as is an Absurdist.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for your comments Carburn.

      I believe our human knowledge of our infinite universe is so astronomically small that it is unreasonable for anyone to prove or disprove any religion or non-religion.

      I would agree. We cannot prove God or no God. We can only infer from data and experience. Of course, there’s a lot in reality we cannot prove, so we are still left with coming to a belief or position.

      The closest thing I can describe myself as is an Absurdist.

      Can you describe what you mean by being an Absurdist? Thanks again!

      • Carburn says:

        I agree with you that despite us being unable to fully grasp what is out there or not out there, it is still fair to form a set of beliefs. Even if I believe those beliefs are bound to be false.

        What I mean with being an absurdist, is that for all intents and purposes the world as I see it is an unknowable entity with an unknowable or lacking purpose. Despite this however, I choose to believe and find a purpose within the chaos even though I know it is bound to be false.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for your clarification, Carburn. Good points.

          What I get from what you’re saying is that there is a tension we all must honestly consider. The world we observe seems to be in chaos and orderly at the same time! LOL! If we don’t like paradox, we probably won’t be comfortable with the world we live in. We will slide either toward dismissive “not knowing anything” or reduce it all down to our stubborn certainty of thinking we know everything.

          It may interest you to know that the early Christian church fathers held such a tension, between having confidence in the self-revelation of God through Jesus Christ and living in a mystery that transcends completely knowing. But, to them, mystery was not never knowing, it was ever-knowing. I think that fits well with scientific discovery…we are on a trajectory of an “ever-knowing” ontology that’s probably not totally knowable. But it’s fun trying. Makes life interesting! 🙂

        • Carburn says:

          I would agree that there is certifiable order within the chaos in which we live, but I would consider both to be too obscure and undefinable in the field of religion to come to any truthful conclusion towards the existence or non-existence of anything divine. I choose to believe in my version of something divine, not because I can prove it but because I can derive the most meaning from it.

          Essentially my religiosity can be defined as knowing that I am likely to be wrong, but choosing to believe regardless because I see no possibility for a truthful alternative in this point in time. I do encourage the pursuit of meaning within our universe however. Perhaps we will find a provable meaning or perhaps we won’t. Perhaps there are many meanings to derive from the chaos we live in. Doesn’t matter much either way, the journey is what matters.

          This was a fun conversation Mel, looking forward to more interesting questions. I have one question though. Are you referring to the conflict between gnostic christianity and regular christianity? I am not as well-versed in christianity as I would like to be.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I choose to believe in my version of something divine, not because I can prove it but because I can derive the most meaning from it.

          I think that’s the ontological position we all must take in the end. We choose an explanation that we derive the most meaning from.

          I have one question though. Are you referring to the conflict between gnostic christianity and regular christianity? I am not as well-versed in christianity as I would like to be.

          No, I was referring to the tension the early church fathers had between having confidence and transcendent mystery. For instance, I have confidence that Jesus Christ is the self-revelation of God, yet I can’t empirically prove it, and there’s so much about the world that none of us can prove. So we should remain open to grow.

          Since you’re new to this site, I practice what’s been called the “art of faithful questioning.” (see linked blog post for explanation). Basically, it’s seeing if things are so instead of trying to prove that they are not so (hence, “Faithful” questioning). I think I’ve always been this way, but I faithfully question everything: Christian views as well as opposing views. Again, I think that’s a healthier way to grow as a human being. That’s why I honestly want to know other people’s worldview. I don’t want this site to just be an echo chamber where we all agree, but we can learn from one another’s differences, whether Christian or otherwise. I hope that makes sense.

          It was a pleasure having this conversation with you, Carburn. Perhaps we can have more discussion on this in the future. 🙂

        • Carburn says:

          That makes a lot of sense. Your worldview seems to be rather close to my own, though we word it differently. I will make sure to stop by your website soon so we may discuss again.
          All the best.

  4. I don’t know if this is on point or not, but since I believe God is Omniscience, which means He IS ALL Knowledge and all knowledge comes from Him, to paraphrase a popular TV show, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE! Science based in searching and finding the truth WILL find it in the Nature and Character of God Almighty if TRUE scientists pursuing TRUE science will be open to looking in God’s direction.
    There is a lot of junk, garbage science in the world, but how things were made and the purpose, timing, timeline of creation, etc., are all found in the TRUTH of God Almighty. It’s the reason why Science is continually finding certain things in the Bible as TRUTH. Things once hidden from the knowledge of man is coming to the forefront more and more for as Daniel prophesied, in the last days KNOWLEDGE (science, search for what is true) will be on the increase.
    Now don’t be scared off by the word science, for the term itself is not so much a definition of a type of career or educational pursuit but rather is defined as Knowledge, itself, in the case of our natural world, the search for true knowledge, which of course as Christians know for fact is in the character and nature of God Almighty, our Heavenly Father.
    As a Christian minister, I have always been intrigued by what our Scientists discover, even some of their theories, but I also relegate the theories to just that, THEORIES and not fact until proven to be true (which will NOT contradict God’s Nature or Character.) Christians don’t have to be afraid of science, but so many rail against facts in evidence for fear it will lessen their faith. The more I learn from the realm of Science, the MORE my faith and my AWE of the Father increases. (As I believe it should). Great thought-provoking post, Mel! God bless and more so in the coming year as you continue to serve!!!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Hi Roland. Thanks for your great comments. You make a good point about science.

      Now don’t be scared off by the word science, for the term itself is not so much a definition of a type of career or educational pursuit but rather is defined as Knowledge…

      This was how science was originally defined and understood up until modern times. Many Christian thinkers in history considered themselves scientists as well as theologians. It’s true, science is about knowledge. The problem is, most people today think of science as natural science. I think that’s where the terminology problem lies. We have to define what we mean when we say, “science.”

      The early church believed there were at least four ways to know God: nature, Scripture, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the self-revelation of God through Jesus Christ. So, nature was a big part of their discovery process. People like Isaac Newton saw scientific discovery enhancing their understanding and faith in God, not threatening. I agree with him!

      Thanks again, Roland. You brought up some important things for us Christians to consider.

  5. Your goldfish pic reminds me of an old cartoon, a couple of fish watching flakes fall into their tank and one says, “Listen up Fred, there is nothing beyond the ocean we live in, no invisible hand that feeds us.”

  6. paulfg says:

    Lovely post and conversations! ((hugs))

  7. My world view is that I am loved by an all knowing God who, upon putting out all the evidence needed to prove His existence, allows mankind the freedom of will to think for ourselves, whether right or wrong, and to make that determination for ourselves. The proof of His existence is all around. However, a portion of mankind has chosen to define proof as something that can only be obtained through our five senses.

  8. I believe we make our own personal meaning out of the world based on our interests and desires. We should strive to help other people, be kind to others, be curious, educate ourselves, love others, understand we have to take personal responsibility for our actions and have a personal responsibility to other people (within reason), and its important to remember we can always grow and change for the better. We should always be striving to be the best person we can be, although that will probably look different from individual to individual.

  9. John Branyan says:

    Hey Mel,

    I am inclined to agree with the folks who suggested we have a limited understanding of “reality”. At the same time, I don’t think it’s correct to say we can’t know ANYTHING about reality. We have the ability to reason. Our awareness of self is miraculous. Why did we evolve this sentience? If we’re simply passing genes from generation to generation, there’s no reason for us to develop ‘personality’. The fact that we have conversations like this one makes me suspect that we’re more than mere matter.

    Being made in the image of God means we have a sense of existence and autonomy. We assign meaning to our existence. We also have the capacity to “know” God…at least primitively. Intuition and experience tell me that my 5 senses can’t completely describe reality. I believe the sense of “supernatural” is a clue that there is something beyond nature.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Good points, John.

      We have the ability to reason. Our awareness of self is miraculous. Why did we evolve this sentience? If we’re simply passing genes from generation to generation, there’s no reason for us to develop ‘personality’. The fact that we have conversations like this one makes me suspect that we’re more than mere matter.

      I totally agree. This is the inherent problem with panpsychism. We must perform magic to somehow integrate “bits of consciousness” together to make complex beings. But there is zero evidence that inanimate objects have any consciousness. So, panpsychism is more akin to a religion of materialists. On the other hand, if all matter is IN consciousness, then it all becomes a more plausible and parsimonious explanation. Independent sentient beings are simply dissociated parts of the “mind-at-large” (Aldous Huxley). I will call it “God’s mind.” This is why materialism is an untenable ontology in my view. I will attempt a post on this next time. 🙂

      • john zande says:

        On the other hand, if all matter is IN consciousness

        This simply doesn’t work, and if you’d actually thought about it, you’d already see that it doesn’t work. If it were this way, rather than emergent, then a protozoa would possess the equal amount of this ‘consciousness’ as a roundworm, and a roundworm would possess the equal amount of this ‘consciousness’ as an octopus, and an octopus would possess the equal amount of this ‘consciousness’ as a human being. This, of course, is not the case. What is the case is that with compounding material complexity comes greater consciousness… Until we actually leave the material behind and enter memetic evolution.

        Hope that clears things up.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Not what is meant by everything is in consciousness, but my computer crashed so will need to explain later. Don’t like commenting from my phone. 😊

      • john zande says:

        And we can even test this hypothesis. If God’s Consciousness is in material things, in equal portions as it must, then the less materially complex a thing is the better (more freely) it should exhibit this God Consciousness.

        So, ignoring virtually all of the universe’s history, and limiting ourselves just to the earthly biological paradigm, the question would be: Do we observe organisms becoming more “Godlike” the more primitive they are in the evolutionary paradigm? Are insects, for example, more peaceful and loving than, say, mammals? Do amoeba (who have a veracious appetite) better embody the consciousness of Yhwh than, say, a human being? Do crocodiles exhibit more of a benevolent Godlike disposition than, say, a more recently evolved capuchin monkey?

        Does your hypothesis hold merit when applied to the actual world?

        • John Branyan says:

          Excellent points! End these earthly paradigms!
          What about Vanilla yogurt! Does vanilla yogurt have the same amount of consciousness as banana nut bread?

  10. “If God’s Consciousness is in material things, in equal portions as it must, then the less materially complex a thing is the better (more freely) it should exhibit this God Consciousness.”

    Well, I’m perfectly willing to concede the point that protozoa and roundworm do a much better job of exhibiting “God Consciousness” than Zande does.

  11. Pingback: Christ, the Cosmic Mind, and Consciousness | In My Father's House

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