Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Good Letter to NS

From Maggie Hamand:
"As someone with a first degree in biochemistry and an MA in theology. I am always fascinated by debates about religion and science. I was dismayed, however, to read [in New Scientist magazine] that belief in God is equated with belief in "supernatural beings". In Christian theology God is not seen as an object of our consciousness, and therefore cannot be described as a "being" or as a "thing". God is held to be both beyond being (transcendent) and being itself (immanent). As far as I am aware Judaism, Islam and indeed Buddhism and Hinduism have similar doctrines. It is human to constantly reify things which are abstract - as scientists do when talking about particles and black holes - or which are divine: but this should be resisted if we are to truly understand things."
London, UK.

Similarly, the Self is not a thing. Reification (also known as hypostatisation, concretism, or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a "real thing" something which is not a real thing, but merely an idea. The habit of thinking about abstractions in terms of concrete objects is probably an inborn tendency in human beings. The word 'real' is quite vague, philosophers can't even agree on what the word 'existence' means. To say that God/Self should not be reified does not necessarily mean It does not 'exist'.

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