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"Do you ever have any discussions on your forum about the implications of quantum physics and God?" I asked Phil, and he suggested I post this here. Yep, it's HIS fault if it makes no sense. Wink Sorry about the cheeky subject title - it's the headline writer in me. These ideas don't come from the reknowned quantum physicist Richard Feyman, just some of my ramblings, but much of my layman knowledge of quantum physics comes from him.

I think quantum physics and religion is a fascinating subject, and I really don't mean from the new-age perspective. I mean hard science. There is actually randomness built into the universe, and at the lowest level (that we've discovered yet). Now if you're God and you want to create a universe where meaningful things happen you couldn't just build it out of deterministic pieces, wind it up like a watch, and then expect anything novel to happen. Heck, if you're God you'd already know what was going to happen (don't mean to intrude on beliefs of omniscience here) if you built it this way. But pure randomness might not allow for much complexity. The kicker is that on the macroscopic level, for all intents and purposes, you get the Newtonian deterministic physics. But from below, like the breath of God, randomness is still gently infused, seemingly just enough to make things interesting but not too much to invoke utter chaos.

And that's not to mention that even particles as small as the electron (which as far as we know can't be divided into anything smaller) show signs of consciousness, which for me, makes God's existence very believable. Yeah, I'm probably one of those people that I think you'd catagorize that kind of creates their own religion. Guilty as charged. For some God is a white man in a robe, for others a Spirit, the Creator, Cosmic Consciousness or something else. I see humans as a part and God as the whole. The whole "what" is the elusive question. Wink

It's been proven that every atom in the universe has instantaneous contact with every other atom in the universe - speed of light notwithstanding. That leads me to believe that people are part of a general whole but are cut off in some way so as to give us individual consciousness. God would be the total of consciousness, knowledge and awareness. We scratch and claw at this in all our religions, symbols and beliefs but I can't help think that we're all expressing parts of the same thing (the ol' Hindu elephant and blind men story). And this is where Buddhism comes in for me. Many of our concepts and perceptions focus are minds too narrowly into ourselves and we miss the Big Picture. I'm still looking for the Small Picture, but it's fascinating to know that it's out there (or IN here).
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is certainly a very fine reflection, and indicates the very best of what quantum physics can hint at concerning the ultimate nature of reality. It also points up the interdependence of created things, and our profound affect on other things--something we're seldom aware of.

In a way, the old classical philosophers had some of the same intuitions:
Existence = Ultimate Reality, and the sum total of all possibilities. God.
Essence = a capacity for Existence.

God's Essence and Existence are one and the same. Big Grin God's is simultaneously pure Existence and the fullest capacity for Existence.

A creature's essence, however, is a limited capacity for Existence. This includes even highly educated liberal scholars! Eeker

I think Buddhism and any contemplative spirituality helps us to be open to the vastness of the Ground from which we have emerged and lose our illusions of being separated or disconnected from the whole. We can learn much about this Ground (or Field of Infinite Possibilities) through such disciplines.

But what if the Ground Itself took the initiative to "introduce Itself" to us? What if it's not simply a passive, passionless Field or Consciousness? What if the "personality" we see expressed in/as what is most uniquely human about us is, in some way, only a dim reflection of the Super-Personal-ity at the "heart" of the Ground?

Those are some the convictions that the Judeo-Christian-Islam traditions work from, emphasizing the possibility of a relationship with the Ultimate who, after all, must know something about personality. Wink

It seems to me that Buddhists, Christians, and quantum physicists all have something to learn from each other, provided they recognize both the gifts and limitations they bring to the table. Where I get nervous is when they "go beyond" their area of expertise: e.g., when a quantum physicists re-interprets Christian theology through the filter of his/her scientific paradigm, or when any of the other possible interactions over-step. Frowner

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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But what if the Ground Itself took the initiative to "introduce Itself" to us? What if it's not simply a passive, passionless Field or Consciousness? What if the "personality" we see expressed in/as what is most uniquely human about us is, in some way, only a dim reflection of the Super-Personal-ity at the "heart" of the Ground?

Phil, I never thought of it that way before. You learn something new every day. Smiler Certainly Buddhism could be called a quest to search for a passive reality, or as techniques to simply shut up and let a more active reality find you!

The amazing thing about quantum physics is that no one expected to find anything like it. And there is faith involved (or simply resignation) in dealing with it. In quantum physics some things can just never be known and some behaviors are just so strange, but to look deeper into them is largely regarded as pointless and counterproductive. That reminds of the Buddha who always refused to answer philosophical questions about the nature of reality. "It just is" seems to be a strange (perhaps not unexpected from a religious point of view) convergence of science and religion. Smiler
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Certainly Buddhism could be called a quest to search for a passive reality, or as techniques to simply shut up and let a more active reality find you!

Precisely! And that's very good! I think of it as allowing the Reality that's already there to emerge.

In quantum physics some things can just never be known and some behaviors are just so strange, but to look deeper into them is largely regarded as pointless and counterproductive.

I've sometimes thought that an analogy to some of this might be applied to cells in a human body. Say they had intelligence and could write books and stuff on the body and how it works from their vantage point. They'd see all kinds of lawfulness at work. Only, they wouldn't have a clue as to the formative intelligence behind it all and might even wonder if such a thing existed. They would see baffling things--like some cells getting stirred into action for reasons they can't comprehend (psycho-somatic phenomena) and just call it a mystery. From the vantage point of the human mind, we could say that our thoughts are producing effects in the body, but from the perspective of the cells of the body, it would be mystery.

Re. the Ground introducing itself to us. We understand that to be a progressive matter, and one that is always colored by the human mode of knowing. The interplay is in a context of Covenant, which Dr. Bruington is exploring with people in another forum, and this Covenant is constantly being deepened and updated. Finally, in the Person of Jesus, the Covenant reaches its deepest level of intimacy and completion as the Divine shines through most purely through the medium of human nature, with which it is now fully integrated. Henceforth, the human story unfolds "in Christ," as human nature itself has entered a new relationship with God--one that individuals can consciously participate in through faith. The individual can relate to the Ground/Field as a person to a Person in a Person.

Appointment here. Got to run.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Re. the Ground introducing itself to us.

Had that happen when I was about 8 years old - cracked my head open in the exact same spot on the forehead in the span of a week! The third time stitches were useless.

Good analogy of the cells/body. And since the human mind has an effect on things at the quantum level one might easily imagine a divine mind having Its effect on us.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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