Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Next BQ - June 18

Pot luck dinner starts at 6:30 pm at the Smith house. Discussion starts at 8:00 and runs to about 10. Kids are welcome (if they can generally look after themselves - we have space for them). Call if you need directions. You know the number - or look it up in the directory!

Sadly, this blog is public, and I want this to stay just between us...
In a recent conversation with a good friend, the question of the existence of God came up. As a person with a stong belief in this area I welcomed the exchange, and suggested that the terrain of belief could be laid out like a line with three zones: to the right were the believers in God, to the left were the unbelievers, and in the middle were the fence-sitters. Diests, athiests, and agnostics, plain and simple, in my view. My friend disagreed, and now we were off into a proper philosophical discussion!

This probably would not have been a noteworthy discussion but for what appeared to be to me a strange assertion by my friend: he listed himself as an agnostic, but he believed in God. "That is a contradiction!", I claimed. "Not so," said he, because of the way he defined what God is, or what God might or should be. God as a father is not what he had in mind, and god as a natural force wasn't it either. Something else, he said, but what that something was, he didn't know.

"Well," says I, "a God that can't kick ass is not a God worth having!", in my usual disarming and charming way. But this gets me thinking, If the God of Acquinas, who is the God of Divine Providence, who directs everything in the world, who is all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere, is surely a God who could kick ass if he wanted to! But what of the God as clockmaker idea, where God sets the world into motion and then lets people have wills and choice, and we make of the world the mess that it is. It that a concept of God that makes sense in believing in? I'm not so sure.

So I decided to revisit the idea of God one more time, and lay out the question like this: What is God? Please come with some sort of definition in mind, where your idea of God can address things like limits of power, degrees of caring for mankind and you in particular, willingness to step in on your behalf to show his/her care for you, and so forth.

There are many sorts of Gods in the world, some more powerful and some less so. Panthiesm parcels out power to many. Monothiesm aggregates it into one. Vengful, angry Gods are to be avoided. Loving, mothering Gods look out for living things. Where does your God weigh in on the issues of the world and life, and especially, your life?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May BQ was a bit Different

First, let me apologize for the 2-parted nature of the meeting last time. I didn't realize what I was getting into until it was a bit too late. Out of deference to the speaker the meeting was co-opted for a time, but was eventually brought back into control after 9:00.

In the second part people told me clearly that they want to get back to the classic Questions of Pholosophy that have been the hallmark of BQ since its inception. This I will gladly do. I promised to resurrect the quesitons we used to deal with, even it means re-doing a Question or two from time to time. Old topics still yield new insights, it seems. Fine, we will do this.

I will comb my old texts for a new topic. Check these pages for the new posting in time for the June 18 meeting date.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Is/Ought - and the Next BQ

     The only possible dates in May for a BQ Meeting would be 5/14 and 5/28. Both are open for me at the moment, so here goes. Let's meet next Friday, 5/14. Is that a date?
     As for a topic, I'm not so sure. I've been studying the Philosophy of Science lately, and although I like the subject quite a lot, the recent lectures have fallen into that area of thought we call logic, and it can be deadly dull. While the subject interests me greatly, the idea of trying to make a BQ session out of the logic of language, talking about subject-predicate intentionality, gives me more than pause.
     The other general philosophical question is one that goes like this: science is an activity whose purpose is to figure out what things are, fundamentally. It is an activity that seeks to find out what the world is. Religion is an activity that seeks to show us how things ought to be. What ought we do in a certain situation? What ought a thing be made up of, if this is a perfect world? This sets up an Is/Ought Dichotomy that troubles philosophers, but again, I don't think it has enough practical "handles" on it to make an interesting discussion for our next meeting.
     I'll tell you what. I'll keep thinking about this, and let you know in time for the meeting next Friday night. How about that?
     Dr. Chips