Our Patron Deity

Welcome to the Online Seminary of Evangelical Realism. Since this is my inaugural post, I thought it would be appropriate to introduce you to my patron deity: Reality.

Some of my readers will be unfamiliar with the idea of Reality as a god, but if you think about it, Reality has many of the traditional attributes of deity, and indeed most of our traditional ideas about God are merely garbled perceptions of the incomprehensible complexity and enormity of Reality.

For example, Reality is omnipresent (exists in all places) and omnipotent (all-powerful). Wherever you go in the entire universe, Reality is already there, and no matter what you do, you cannot violate any of Reality’s rules for how things work. Reality is, in fact, the only god powerful enough to truly claim that no disobedience is possible. Do what you will, you cannot help but obey the laws of Reality (and if you think otherwise, the consequences will be uncomfortable at best, if not downright disastrous!).

Reality is also eternal, since if there was ever any time when Reality did not exist, then nothing else would exist either. Reality is also the Creator, having produced everything which exists today. Reality is the “thing than which no greater can be imagined,” as Anselm once put it. Any lesser God we might imagine would be either a non-existent God, or a God which was part of Reality. God therefore either is Reality, or is merely a part of Reality. Reality, therefore, must be greater than or equal to any existing God.

Now, one of our failures as limited, finite beings is that there are limits to what we are capable of holding in our minds. Deity is too vast and too complex for us to comprehend fully and precisely; we necessarily reduce God to a representation that is small enough to fit inside our minds. But how can we represent something as complex, something as knowable yet unpredictable, as Reality itself, in all its fullness and detail?

Answer: by analogy. The most complicated, subtle, familiar, and yet unpredictable things we know of are other human beings, and therefore we imagine God as a being Who is, in many ways, similar to a human-type being. Though this approach is not precisely accurate, it’s not entirely wrong. It’s merely a concession to our own limitations. God (that is, Reality) is and always has been beyond our powers of comprehension. Thus, the fact that Reality is not a “person,” in the traditional sense, is not an argument against the deity of Reality. Traditionally, men have viewed their gods as human-like persons, but even they will admit, if pressed, that the truth about God is more complicated than that.

It is with great pride and pleasure, therefore, that I present to you our patron deity, Reality, to whom we ascribe all honor and glory, and whose knowledge we commend to every honest soul.

 
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...Loading...
Posted in Realism, Uncategorized. 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “Our Patron Deity”

  1. TheAbysmal Says:

    but your Reality sure isn’t my Reality, nor anyone elses.

    does this mean that this is a pantheistic system?

  2. The Professor Says:

    but your Reality sure isn’t my Reality, nor anyone elses.

    It’s not “my” reality, it’s the reality that you and I and everyone else experience in common. Otherwise, how could you add a comment to my post? They’d be in separate realities, and wouldn’t have any contact with each other.

  3. TheAbysmal Says:

    we’ve never met – what “reality” do you suggest we have in common? You don’t really define what you mean when you use that word. The way we both interpret that word could be vastly different from each other.

    assuming that language, particularly typed English forms reality, then granted, I read the words displayed on my monitor, to which another series of words appeared, I’ve read, and now I type.

    maybe we have that in common. care to define what you mean by “reality” for you me & everyone else? I’m honestly curious.

  4. PalMD Says:

    I think the idea is brilliant. Since I’m not very well read in philosophy, i don’t know if this is unique, or well known to others, but, damn, what a great idea. Reality is god is an analogy for reality. You have seriously blown my mind…i love reading a new, elegant idea.

    And, to hell with this whole relativistic reality thing. For the purposes of starting a car or crossing a bridge, reality is what we all agree it is…

  5. The Professor Says:

    TheAbysmal: reality is that which exists independently of our perception of it, and which we all experience in common. If we did not all share a common reality (regardless of whether we share a common definition of reality), then we could not communicate with each other, because there would be no common medium through which such communication could occur.

  6. TheAbysmal Says:

    nothing exists outside of our perception of it.

    that’s just the point. if you don’t perceive it, how do you know it has happened? granted that you may be able to conceive of something, but without direct experience, you’re taking someone else’s word for it.

    are you talking about every person’s own personal perception, once amassed and considered as a totality as reality? do you consider the physical universe as described by pythagoras or descartes or einstein? They all described very different ideas of reality.

    different cultures view the world differently. You can’t say that the reality for a dweller on a Pacific Island is the same as that for someone living atop a mountain in Switzerland.

    they both have heartbeats, but their views of the world, shaped by the landscapes around them, differs.

    so, again, it seems you’re presuming we agree on a whole lot of fundamental matters. If you could provide a definition of “reality” or “that which we all experience in common” that may help to clarify what it is you mean. at least for me.

    there are so many different definitions and perceptions of reality that we can’t presume we agree.

  7. The Professor Says:

    nothing exists outside of our perception of it

    If nothing exists outside of our perception, how can we perceive anything? If I have not yet perceived a thing, then according to you it does not exist. If it does not exist, then I cannot perceive it, since it is not even there for me to perceive. Therefore perception itself cannot exist–if what you claim were true in reality.

  8. TheAbysmal Says:

    if you can’t perceive, how do you know there’s anything there?

    if you can’t see, feel, hear, taste, touch, smell ANYTHING, then it’s just your mind and that’s all – what else is there? there are no other people, because you can’t sense or perceive them.

    you know, the old tree falling in the forest. If there’s no one to hear the tree fall, then one has to wonder what tree we’re talking about.

    you still haven’t defined what you mean by realiity, and I’m beginning to believe that that is likely something to develop along your journey.

    have fun

  9. The Professor Says:

    If you can’t perceive, how do you know there’s anything there

    That’s your problem. You’ve got a chicken and egg dilemma, since you can’t perceive it if it doesn’t exist, and you claim it doesn’t exist until you perceive it.

    I don’t have that problem, since I don’t deny reality, therefore I’ve got a solid, real-world basis for my perceptions.

    By the way, I did define what I mean by reality, though in truth I don’t so much define reality as observe it. Reality defines me, in fact, as it defines you. Reality is that which is consistent with itself, the objective standard against which we can measure our perceptions to determine if they are accurate or not. For example, have you ever missed the last step while going down the stairs? You perceived that there was only one more step, but in reality there were two more.

    Reality is that which is correct when your perceptions are not.

  10. TheAbysmal Says:

    sounds to me like you think reality is a “given” and has some universal, objective basis outside of our individual experience.

    sounds like you’ve taken the “god” out of the christian world-view and have substituted “objectivity.”

    either way, it ignores the basic tenets of relativity, which has come to form the basis of scientific analysis of the physical universe. there is no objective reality according to relativity.

    do you consider the earth the centre of the universe? the sun? yourself? some distant, as yet undiscovered fixed point about which all else revolves? each one describes a different reality.

    it’s all relative.

    the objectivity to which you allude can’t exist – the description of objectivity is the result of a series of innately subjective human minds.

    again, don’t define my reality for me, because you obviously live within a different one, and I won’t define yours for you – although I wish you would.

    are you at least trying to describe the physical universe as reality?

  11. The Professor Says:

    Sounds like you are claiming that my perception of reality is incorrect because it fails to conform to some objectively real standard of “relativity” which states that nothing, including itself, can be objectively real. However since the standard you hold me to cannot possibly exist, as it denies the possibility of its own existence, then either I cannot violate it, or the standard you propose is not valid.

    I think you’re confused about the difference between objective reality and perceptual objectivity. It does not matter whether we are perfectly accurate in our perception of objective reality. The point is, there is something out there for us to perceive, and that something is correct even when our perceptions of it are not. Because we all experience the same objective reality in common, despite individual variations in how we perceive it, we have a common point of reference against which we can compare perceptions and discover those which are more accurate.

  12. TheAbysmal Says:

    patronising as your response is:

    “The point is, there is something out there for us to perceive, and that something is correct even when our perceptions of it are not.”

    you presuppose “something” as well as “out there” as well as “perception” as well as “correct”

    without defining any of these. You’re running around in linguistic circles, and it’d be nice if you had a perspective from which you operated instead of “you know, reality” arguments.

    do you believe that the earth is made of matter? what’s the matter made of? Do you think it’s atoms? quantum atoms are simply probabilities. Do you believe you’re sitting on a probability? Do you believe you’re revolving around the Sun? Is it full of Hydrogen or pixie dust?

    these details change the way you perceive the world. Seeing the sun as a ball of flaming gas, or as God smiling down on you beneficently changes whether you behave like a nihilist, believing in only a concrete, objective reality without any spiritual presence (which science continually, ironically denies) or whether you think that the world is a good place, and worth fighting for, as Hemingway once penned.

    you deny God, but in so doing, you also admit that there is something to be denied. If there is no God, why even bring him up?

    as far as us communicating as proof of reality (I mean, really, is that the best you can do?)

    ci je parles en Francais, est-ce-que tu peux me comprendre? Est-ce-que c’est toujours la realite?

    Oder im Deutcsh? Was ist es?

    Nihongo mo. Nan desu ka?

  13. The Professor Says:

    Do you think I’m wrong? And if so, “wrong” relative to what?

  14. TheAbysmal Says:

    I can’t answer such a vague question.

    do I think you are wrong?

    a) I don’t think in terms of right and wrong

    b) a yes/no question is overly simplistic for any kind of meaningful conversation (even on the Internet)

    c) you haven’t made any definitive statement which may be considered

    d) I don’t think you as a person is capable of wrong. or right for that matter

  15. TheAbysmal Says:

    by the way,

    believing in “right & wrong” is a christian tenet.

    also muslim & jewish & zoroastrian.

    doesn’t come up in buddhism.

    are you claiming to be an atheist or an evangelical?

  16. The Professor Says:

    Apparently, then, you have no grounds for disagreeing with what I am saying.

  17. TheAbysmal Says:

    how old are you?

  18. The Professor Says:

    Old enough.

  19. TheAbysmal Says:

    k – but as The Professor, maybe you could address at least one of my questions, all of which you’ve ignored.

    1) does this mean that this is a pantheistic system?

    2) what “reality” do you suggest we have in common?

    3) care to define what you mean by “reality” for you me & everyone else?

    4) if you don’t perceive it, how do you know it has happened?

    5) are you talking about every person’s own personal perception, once amassed and considered as a totality as reality?

    6) do you consider the physical universe as described by pythagoras or descartes or einstein?

    7) if you can’t perceive, how do you know there’s anything there?

    8a) do you consider the earth the centre of the universe?

    8b) the sun?

    8c) yourself?

    8d) some distant, as yet undiscovered fixed point about which all else revolves?

    9) are you at least trying to describe the physical universe as reality?

    10a) do you believe that the earth is made of matter?

    10b) what’s the matter made of?

    10c) Do you think it’s atoms?

    11) Do you believe you’re sitting on a probability?

    12a)Do you believe you’re revolving around the Sun?

    12b)Is it full of Hydrogen or pixie dust?

    13) If there is no God, why even bring him up?

    maybe an innoculation against ignorance would help

  20. The Professor Says:

    Why do you even care what my answers are?