August 8, 2010

Movement Notes - 1

Saying "God is real" is not the same as saying "God is actual".  To say that God acts... To say that God can and does operate in the real world... To say that God has frequently acted in History... To say that God moves in one's own life... Or inside one's own self... These are, ontologically, very challenging statements.

Precisely HOW does God act, operate, or move?

By it's most primary definition, Theology is the study of God.  According to practice, Theology in general has most often become the domain of Philosophy - proposing logical conjectures about transcendent things we cannot fully apprehend is what philosophers and theologians have in common.  However, there are other fields of study in which logical conjectures can be valid and necessary, if not frequently so.

Historians, for example, must often attempt to extend certain trajectories of action, or even ideas, and after extending said trajectories, historians must consider what else to our knowledge may have encouraged or impeded that motion.  There is no final judgment on their conclusions, except to weigh evidence and compare what are known facts with what remains uncertain.

Physicists, also, must often hypothesize about what action might or should happen with some particular set of circumstances.  Given the chance, the physicists test their conjectures with actual experiments.  One of Einstein's theories remained untested for many years, waiting for observations from a solar eclipse (or two).  And some theories in Physics will never, and can never be tested.

We ask again:  Precisely HOW does God act, operate or move?

Some conjecture is certainly required in this investigation, which, properly, is a Theological one.  But what kind of Theology will it be?  Is it possible for Theologians to conjecture in ways less like Philosophers, and more like Physicists and Historians?  Let us hope so.

We very much need for discussion regarding an actual God to be shifted away from ideas of the mind, away from transcendent vagaries.  If the discussion is going to be of any practical value, we very much need to find ways of discussing God which can be based - as much as possible - upon evidence and experience.

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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton