Author Topic: The Purpose of the Universe  (Read 1067 times)

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Offline Jetavan

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The Purpose of the Universe
« on: November 18, 2010, 06:45:47 PM »
In Puebla Mexico, the newly dubbed Ciudad de las ideas, (City of Ideas) the third annual Festival Internacional de Mentes Brillantes (International Festival of Great Minds) took place this past weekend. Along with two other theologians, I was assigned a daunting and fascinating task: to argue about whether the universe has a purpose. On one side stood Richard Dawkins, Matt Ridley and Michael Shermer -- respectively, the biologist and scourge of religion, the science writer and the editor of Skeptic magazine. In my corner of the sky were William Lane Craig, scholar and author, and Doug Geivatt, author and professor at Biola University. We said yes, they said no.
And the universe debate? Everyone was vigorous but it was mostly high toned. It is true that Richard Dawkins (who had given a witty and combative talk the day before ridiculing religion) derided people of faith as childish and lazy, while scientists rolled up their sleeves to figure out the world, but it was in the larger context of religion being not thoughtful but wishful. He also, along with Shermer and Ridley, made the point that the ascription of purpose to the universe from our little corner could be seen as arrogant.
Sean Stephenson, a speaker at the conference who has struggled with tremendous physical disabilities in his life but worked in The White House and has become a renowned inspiration speaker, asked a question from the floor: Is it not arrogant, he said, to imagine that something as puny as a human being can have a purpose, but to assert that something as grand as the universe cannot? Nobody answered this powerful point and we were delighted to have such an eloquent ally.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline Sleeper

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Re: The Purpose of the Universe
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 12:08:04 PM »
Great story!

I've often marveled at this notion of arrogance due to our size and position in the universe.  As if size is directly related to importance and relevance.  Dawkins has said before, in essence, "Why would God care about a tiny planet full of tiny primates in a tiny corner of the universe?"  And one has to wonder why Dawkins doesn't find that line of reasoning to be laughable.