Reading George Fox

Faith Not Reason

I left an extended version of this response as a comment on Keith Giles’s posted “Saved by Zero”. In 1936 Alfred Tarski proved that no formal system can prove its own truth, which is a pretty big impediment to using mathematics to justify God’s existence. Even if one could get around that, it’s probably impossible to prove the existence of God in any meaningful way. Trying to reason from fundamental physics (which we still don’t fully understand) or a logical system devised by humans isn’t going to get us there. In an extreme case, how would one tell the difference between a materialistic, deterministic universe and a universe set in motion by an omnipotent and omniscient watchmaker God? How can one be sure that a revelation is from God or from the natural workings of the human brain, which we still only rudimentarily understand? Or perhaps God determined that those workings would occur? There’s no there there. Belief in the divine/spiritual realm comes down to faith. As does disbelief in those things. And if understand correctly, Jesus said something along the lines of not relying on human reason but relying on him instead. Personally, I’m an atheistic Quaker with a…

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Upcoming Posts

Sorry for the late post. Turns out a 340 mile round-trip drive from Salem to Poughkeepsie and back is not conducive to writing in-depth the next day. Anyways, onto the preview! Blogging and the Anti-Social Bookmarker — A return to tech for those bored of politics and art. Ever since Maciej enabled Privacy Lock, I've set my personal Pinboard to be completely private. I'm not particularly interested in sharing all my personal interests1. However, after starting Reading George Fox, I figured it would be helpful2 to provide an archive of my sources; hence the pinboard.in link on the side. Now, who wants to manage two different bookmarking accounts? Certainly not lazy old me. I've cobbled together a small AppleScript and bash system to automate transferring links from the personal account to the blog's. This will be the story of that journey.3 One Size Fits All — On the Magnum Edition of Lovecast 356, Dan chats with Dr. Joye Swan about condom use and magical monogamy thinking. While Dr. Swan has done some excellent research on the STI/HIV risks of serial monogamy and partner infidelity, her advice for “the re-education we have to go through” is far too dogmatic and narrow…

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Brooklyn Monthly Meeting Survey, Fall 2012

The following is my response to last fall’s Ministry and Counsel survey. What is it you need to know to connect to the collected recordings of valued spiritual revelations from Quaker history and to enhance your openness to spiritual revelation today? I spent a rather intense two week sabbatical at Pendle Hill last fall, during which I was led to read a fair amount of Quaker history and early testimonies. I found myself especially drawn to the writings of Isaac Pennington. Perhaps the Meeting could offer a reading group that met monthly to explore more Quaker writings, from early works to Pendle Hill Pamphletes and other contemporary writings (Benjamin Pink Dandelion would seem especially useful). What committee or group activities within the meeting or service outside the meeting foster or strengthen your sense of the spirit? I often struggle to wake up on time, but the worship sharings on the first and second First Days foster explorations. I’d also like to make it to more of the worship sharings proceeding the Young Adult Friends potlucks. I struggle with volunteering for the Community Dinners: I feel I ought to want to, but I’m often tired and don’t feel led. I do…

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What I mean by “God”

A Work in Progress I’ve taken a rather roundabout way of getting to my point, but I do eventually get there. I’ve tried to structure this essay to chart the development of my thoughts. Also, I’m not claiming any of this as radically new. Many have trod this path before me. Rather this is an attempt to clarify my beliefs for myself. Humans have been shaped by milenia of both biological and social evolution. There is perhaps a valid sense to the definition of “Humanity” itself as the “expression of our genes and memes.” Both are so enmeshed in our being, our modes of thought, our upbringing, our environment, etc that, in some sense, there is no way for us to achieve an objective viewpoint outside of them. I don’t know if we could even imagine what such a viewpoint would entail. [1] Human beings are also story-telling creatures, and I mean this in a deep sense. Stories are one of our primary tools for understanding the world. Given any set of experiences, we naturally create a story to explain them. This impulse manifests itself in everything from conspiracy theories to the scientific method. After all, what is a scientific…

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