Volume 1: About
Our basic human problem is to learn how to live together peacefully and sustainably on Earth. This, it seems, requires that we share a common vision of what life on Earth is. At present this vision appears to be sadly lacking because we are still heavily dependent on ancient theological and religious ideas that were generated and propagated long before the scientific era that began in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Our evolutionary history explains how this situation arose. Evolution by natural selection is a result of the interaction between the infinite possibilities of life and the finite resources of the Earth. Possibilities are in effect information, and in our Universe, all information is represented physically. To become real, a possibility must acquire for itself sufficient physical resources to remember and execute the information processing needed to sustain its existence.
Although many species are quite limited in the environment in which they can live, our special abilities have enabled us to migrate to all but the most inhospitable parts of the planet. This resulted in the establishment of human communities completely isolated from one another for thousands of years. Human evolution - Wikipedia, Early human migrations - Wikipedia
Like all other species, our physical evolution is relatively slow, taking many generations to introduce a significant change. On the other hand, cultual evolution proceeds much more quickly. A modern person, finding themselves in the medieval world of a thousand years ago would find languages and customs very different from their modern equivalents. While our nature remains relatively stable, our nurture an its consequences are is changing rapidly. From a human point of view, our rate of change seems to be increasing all the time.
The invention of agriculture and the exploitation of fossil energy have fuelled an explosion in human population and human impact on the planet that was nowhere in sight for our African ancestors. These vast and obvious technological changes have been matched by equally great but less obvious changes in our understanding of ourselves and our world.
One consequence modern development is that cultures that were once completely isolated from one another are coming into contact. We are often confronted with views of the world completely different form our own which lead to friction and even war at the points of contact.
In many cases we are struggling to keep up with this rate of change, and many are suffering because the environment no longer supports them as it once did. This, we believe is a religious problem. It is religion that binds large numbers of unrelated individuals into a community. Our problem is to replace the contradictory elements of different religion with new ways to bond into a caring whole. It is painful, but necessary, to write off old ways. The pain becomes more bearable if it is clear that the new system will indeed be better.
Various evils have been named as the root of human suffering: the Fall, original sin, money, wealth, greed, corporate power, sex, overpopulation, materialism, individualism, ignorance, bloody mindedness, and so on. Let us lump them all under the heading 'system error'.
Error drives the search for knowledge. Although some may seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge, most of us are motivated to understand only when something is broken and needs fixing. It is disease that drives medical research and evil in general that leads us to spend time on theology and religion.
One cannot easily fix things without knowing how they work. A break in one tiny wire may stop a motor vehicle. For the average driver, such a defect is a mysterious and frustrating evil. An experienced mechanic, on the other hand, may ask a few questions about the manner of the vehicle's failure and from the answers pinpoint and fix the trouble.
The growth of science has given us a a comprehensive view of the world. This has led to the conquest of many evils and some ideas about how to deal with others. The problem is that, despite all our wonderful technology, troubles seem to be multiplying faster than we can fix them.
The human system needs to be renovated. There is a need to bring our religious understanding up to par with our scientific understanding. The first step, we believe, is a new look at theology. I propose that we attack the problem of violence with a global theology that comprehends the whole of the world and shows us where we all fit in.
I begin from Christianity because I was brought up a Christian. The Christian religion maintains that our fundamental problem was the Fall, an act of disobedience to God. We were saved from this problem by God sending his Son to Earth as a human sacrifice to appease himself. Here we propose a new route to salvation based not on a defective and fallen Universe, but on a divine Universe which is reliable and graceful enough to enable us to save ourselves if we can only learn how it works and how to act consistently with this knowledge. Fall of Man - Wikipedia
Evolution works by variation and selection. Variants that do not fit the environment are selected out, leaving those that do. In this way the evolution of individual species follows the changes in their environments. This process is identical to scientific method. Scientists, confronted with a body of data, try to imagine all possible explanations and, by checking them against the data, eliminate those which do not fit. Scientific method - Wikipedia
This site seeks to develop a scientific theology. In contrast to Christianity, we imagine a Universe that is divine and then, by checking it against experience, try to discover whether it is true or false. Given a certain amount of confidence in its truth, we can then use this scientific foundation to develop the religious technology needed to ensure peace on Earth.
(revised 7 August 2014)