KARL JASPERS FORUM
TA 112 (Müller)
Commentary 7 (to R5)
( THEISM AND CONSTRUCTION )
by Richard W Moodey
10 March 2009, posted 14 March 2009
The theistic formulation which Richard Moodey presents agrees, I think, with the historical interpretation of the Christian church : God has an encompassing mind, and extends it to humans who receive a soul, usually at baptism. Furthermore God creates everything, and thus everything depends on God. How do you see the relation between theism and evolution - the topic of the just finished Vatican conference on Darwin ?
It is important (at least to me) to remember that the issue of theism arose in a roundabout way. It started with my response to what appeared to me to be a non-theistic -- if not atheistic -- question about the purpose of the body. I argue that for there to be a purpose there has to be a person who intends that purpose. I don't know what it means to attribute a purpose to the body from an atheistic perspective. Your characterization of the Christian view is that of the "baptized" platonism that is at the heart of much Christian theology. Like the theologians at the Vatican conference, i see no contradiction between theism and evolution. It is, however, very easy for Christians and other religious believers to interpret evolutionary theory as attempting to go beyond what can be studied by science by attempting to answer what Tillich calls "a question of ultimate concern." Dawkins seems to me to be doing this by claiming that evolutionary theory disproves the existence of God.
[HFJM, R5] It would also be of interest to know your response to the opinion which some Buddhists have, that theism is a preliminary step to their non-theistic religion, which has a nirvana ideal. This is, I think, in my opinion of theoretical interest because the 0-D view has an unstructured basis, in which all structures are formed.
My (admittedly non-Buddhist) interpretation of Buddhism is that their "void" is a very "full void" -- somehow, nirvana or satori always connotes -- to me -- a state of bliss. This is very well could be my Western bias influencing my interpretation of Buddhist words and texts, which I can read only in translation. I agree with Aquinas that we cannot know what God is, but only what god is not. In this sense, even a Christian theological notion of God is a conceptual void.
Richard W Moodey
e-mail <MOODEY001 (at) gannon.edu>