Monday, July 30, 2007

What is "God" For? Getting a Little Scholastic

Washing the dishes in the wake of recent conversations -- clearly there are more than two ways to wash the dishes -- led me to ask this question and answer it as follows.

"God," God-as-concept, is fundamentally the inverse objectification of two formally related facts, one cosmic, the other individual:

1) The ever-present absence of a reason why anything is happening at all.
2) The even more palpable, because personal, lack of an account for the individualized self, whose existence as subject, as one among others, is "arbitrary" (why am I me?) and whose existence as consciousness is "impossible" (how can my consciousness simply pop into being, ex nihilo as it were, as the consciousness of this human being without some pre-human development of me?).

Note how pushing the question of the second leads one back to the first. Together these two facts of existence, generally ignored but always there, structure the conceptual need for a personal absolute.

Note that I am not asking "what is God for?" which is a totally different, though not necessarily unrelated, theological question.

So, to all you seemingly arbitrarily situated philosophers out there, I know this answer misses a lot, but am I wrong?

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