Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view.
In this article, I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions elsewhere.
Two aspects to forming a worldview — truth and morality:
Notice that a worldview is something believed. And in the case of morality, it is something acted upon. Beliefs about truth affects morality, so, truth is required for morality. (An example: if you believe animals are not conscious you might think it's OK to hurt them.)
Reflecting on Mary Karr's memoir named "Lit" (which I studied to improve and relax my writing style), I was thinking about the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) emphasis on your higher power.
It seems odd to me to invoke your higher power to cure you of your problem. Wasn't this same higher power guiding you though the various life circumstances that resulted in your life-destroying addiction in the first place? And didn't your higher power create you with the disposition to become addicted in the first place? Why would anyone look to such a higher power as this to cure them of the very thing the higher power caused (or allowed) in the first place?
I think of Christians who are amazed by a miracle of someone surviving a car crash (for example) when everyone else was killed. This doesn't seem like much of a miracle; to kill innocent people just to miraculously save one. A true miracle would be to never let anything bad happen to anyone at all. But bad things happen all the time.
Assuming God exists, the only satisfying view is that he/she is good and beautiful. (What good is an evil God?)
A God who is good and beautiful rules out all other philosophical or religious views of God and reality. Examples that contradict with a God who is good and beautiful:
But the fact of suffering refutes the notion of a good and beautiful God.
I can imagine that there is a large red ball floating in the sky above in my field of vision. But there is no such large red ball; it exists only in my imagination.
Just because you can imagine something doesn't mean it's real. This is an obvious fact but often neglected.
The mind has the capability of imagining things, of making up stories and events.
Anytime someone makes up something, when they imagine something, it is not a trustworthy source of truth and knowledge. It might be artfully intriguing or beautiful or entertaining or interesting or fun to think about or whatever.
(It might be true by accident. For example, if 1,500 years ago someone imagined the earth was a sphere spinning on its axis and orbiting the sun, their imagination would turn out to be true, but only by accident. They had no way to discern such things about the solar system back then.)
Some Greek philosophers deduced by observation that the sun and moon and earth were spherical; and they calculated the distances between them.
Everything we have experience of (including observations and knowledge from modern science), that is all there is. In other words, if we don't have experience of something, it doesn't exist. By this I don't mean to dogmatically say it doesn't exist, merely that we can't know in a trustworthy manner whether it exists.
We cannot ever know why the universe is as it is, having conscious creatures who suffer.
It's possible there are all kinds of other things that exist but which we can have no experience or knowledge of. But this is merely imagination. You can say, such and such exists, but it is just imagination.
Sadly, everything taught by revealed religion and revealed spiritual paths should be considered as mere imagination unless it can be corroborated by science or philosophy.
I'm willing to entertain the idea that all you see is all there is (materialism/physicalism), but with the following conditions:
But if there is a spiritual realm, for example, it is not detectible and measurable. So does it really exist? And if it does exist, but has no interaction with our cosmos, what benefit is there for us to consider its existence? (God, of course, fits into this category.)
These are probably information encoded somehow within brain structures; the brain can "activate" these and we experience them.
(I should note: I reject the notion that consciousness triggers wave function collapse.)
I would be willing to agree with consciousness as an emergent property except that you can't create something out of nothing. Consciousness is non-physical and merely calling it an emergent property doesn't somehow make it physical. If consciousness emerges from matter, it does so in its interactions with the physical, not in its essential nature.
Reflecting on pagan religion (this is not my term for it, but Yehezkel Kaufmann's) and its metadivine realm (like the force of Star Wars) having the good and the bad, and ultimately controlling everything. It's not God or a god, but an impersonal force that acts as if it has plans and purposes, only that some are good and some are bad.
Humans can tap into this metadivine realm through magic or rituals and rites or whatever and help shape subsequent events.
Comparing this to pure monotheism having a personal, all-powerful, good God, who expresses his/her will upon us here on earth. Evil comes from human free will disobedience to God's will and commands (sin).
If lightning strikes you and kills you, that is nature somehow expressing God's will of righteous divine wrath and judgement against you because you sinned or because humanity in general sins. Each person is guilty, so God can punish anyone for it anytime he wants and he/she is perfectly justified in doing so.
Or does the sin of humans somehow cause the evil events of the world? Do our souls direct bad things to happen? Or is it demons that human sin has allowed to affect events?
Two problems with this view of monotheism:
Is nature a room full of floating balloons, and all God has to do is magically (miraculously) move them to new locations whenever he chooses? This model seems wrong.