11/11/2010—Happy Veteran’s Day. Pittsburgh still has the parade, but most people seem distant from the reality of the service of those who risk their lives every day in the armed forces. Thank you to all veterans.
My colleague Robert Taylor is now reading Hegel with me at the same time we are investigating Emil Fackenheim and the Talmud. Robert is pressing me to be much more direct about God. So, here goes.
It is obvious that there is a mysterious “more” to reality that simple materialism does not capture. We feel this dimension when listening to great music or poetry or feeling love—or awe. These experiences are not the result of bad wiring in the brain. They correspond to something real.
Nevertheless, these reactions and what they refer to do not repeal the laws of science. Will and intelligence do not exist independently of matter. Therefore, there cannot be anything like the God of the Bible.
That does not mean the Bible is wrong exactly. Rather, the biblical writers might have been describing the “more” in certain mythic and anthropocentric terms. Their error might simply have been over specification. For example, reality might favor the slave over the master without a God existing who “led the slaves out of Egypt.”
Reality can be God-like without there being a God. The description of God as having commitments, like a person (opposing gay marriage, for example), was always a kind of heresy.