Before starting this piece you may want to have read ShadowTiger’s article, ‘The God of the Bangers’. This article was inspired by his and I hope to build on his insights. However this article also works as a stand alone piece and can be read as such.
As I interpret it, ShadowTiger used the term “bangers” in regard to Darwinists in particular and evolutionists in general e.g. cosmic evolutionists. He derives the term from ‘The BIG BANG” and his conclusions are well summarised in his TL:DR:
Evolutionists are among the most fervent religious people that you will ever meet.https://www.johnlebon.com/member-creations/the-god-of-the-bangers-by-shadowtiger/
In fact, Time is the Evolutionists God.
That is the bottom line. Time is the GOD of the Bangers.
I have extended the term “Bangers” to encompass materialists in general.
Please note, this article is not an apology for Christian Theology, but a comparison between Christian theology and materialist metaphysics. The comparison is a general one, which I note to avoid charges of straw-manning. It is merely an attempt to bring out some of the similarities between the two general systems of thought.
As always I gratefully receive any comments, criticisms, agreements, disagreements, further insights etc.
Definition: Phenomenon: in philosophy, any object, fact, or occurrence perceived or observed. In general, phenomena are the objects of the senses (e.g., sights and sounds) as contrasted with what is apprehended by the intellect. (Britannica.com.)
When I use the term phenomenon I include that which is apprehended by the intellect, because, in my view this is in fact what a phenomenon is. However, it is a good description of how ‘The Bangers’ use the term ‘phenomenon.’ In this article I will be using the term in both ways and I hope the context will make that clear.
Christian Trinitarian Theology
God the Father is the fount (source) of the divinity of the Godhead and hence the source of the divinity and existence of the other two persons of the Holy Trinity.
God cannot be known, perceived by the senses, or conceived: “It is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him.” (Gregory the Theologian.)
God the Son has the source of His divinity from God the Father. He is the Image of God. He became incarnate as a man whilst retaining his divinity. He reveals the Father to mankind. No one can know the Father except through the Son. We do not know by what means the Son comes from the Father.
Explain to me what generation (begotten) means and I will explain to you the meaning of procession, and we shall both go mad for prying into the mysteries of GodGregory the Theologian
God the Holy Spirit has the source of His divinity from God the Father. He proceeds from the Father, through the Son. We do not know how He comes from the Father. The terms proceed and generation signify that the other two persons have their existence from the Father and not from nothing.
He is the giver of life in creation. He made Adam a living soul. The creation of the world was at the goodwill of the Father, through the Logos of the Son, and was filled with life by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was present at the beginning of creation. “And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
No one can know the Father except through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
According to Eastern Orthodox theology, the purpose of creation was the incarnation of the Holy Logos. This was to occur by the power of the Holy Spirit. Creation was to know and be united to God in the culmination of creation – mankind. This would happen when the Holy Logos became incarnated in the nature of mankind. Creation would know the Father through the Son by the power of the giver of life, the Holy Spirit. The whole history of creation was directed by the power of the Holy Spirit to the creation of man whereby the Logos could become incarnate.
The God of the Bangers: The Holy Trinity
God the Father is Matter.
Man lives in a phenomenal world of perceptions which exist in his consciousness, in his mind. Hence a material world outside of his mind is never a sense experience for him. Thus, matter cannot be known nor perceived by the senses.
Physicist Prof. Andrei Linde illuminates this point.
Let us remember that our knowledge of the world begins not with matter but with perceptions. I know for sure that my pain exists, my “green” exists, and my “sweet” exists. I do not need any proof of their existence, because these events are a part of me; everything else is a theory. Later we find out that our perceptions obey some laws, which can most conveniently be formulated if we assume that there is some underlying reality beyond our perceptions. This model of a material world obeying laws of physics is so successful that soon we forget about our starting point and say that matter is the only reality, and perceptions are only helpful for its description. This assumption is almost as natural (and maybe as false) as our previous assumption that space is only a mathematical tool for the description of matter. But in fact, we are substituting reality of our feelings by a successful working theory of an independently existing material world. And the theory is so successful that we almost never think about its limitations until we must address some really deep issues, which do not fit into our model of reality.”Professor Andrei Linde. Quoted in “The idea of the World”, B Kastrup.
All of our perceptions are in mind, or if you prefer, in consciousness. Hotness, greenness, sadness, pain etc. are all experiences that we perceive in consciousness. We never experience matter directly. Matter is thus a metaphysical explanatory construct. It is a navigational map and not the terrain. To give it an existential being as the source of the phenomenal world (the Creator) requires faith. The faith of the bangers gives matter ontology, it elevates it from the map to the terrain.
However, as with the Christian Father, the bangers can never know matter as it is in itself. The categories of our experience are also categories of our mind. We cannot step outside of ourselves to observe it. Hence it can have nothing in common with our perceptions, nor with the categories of perception e.g. space and time. As with God, we could say nothing positive about it and can only use negative terms. Even these are misleading and are not matter-in-itself. As space and time are categories of perception, ‘Matter’ must be timeless (eternal), spaceless (omnipresent), outside of knowledge (omniscient) etc. The bangers, however, are forced to posit matter in order to explain how their perceptions came into being. They must have a first cause- a Creator; and a created world – the world of phenomena.
God the Father – Holy Matter: We cannot perceive it, we cannot know it, we cannot conceive it as it is-in-itself. But it must exist as the source of our mind and our perceptions.
The First person of the God of the Bangers: Holy Matter. The Father, the divine fount of being and the creator of the world of perception.
No man can know the Father directly but only infer his existence as necessary to explain three aspects of the world of perception:
1. The correlations between observed brain activity and reported inner life.
2. The fact that we all seem to inhabit the same world; and
3. The fact that the dynamics of this world unfold independently of personal volition.The Idea of the World, B Kastrup. (quote slightly paraphrased for flow of reading.)
God the Son: Holy Logic.
For the bangers, the fount of reason and logic is divine Matter. Hence Reason and Logic are also divine, as in the Holy Trinity. They are generated (begotten) by Matter.
Phenomena are created and can be dismissed as lower than Matter, (see Prof. Linde’s quote above) but Logic and Reason are divine. Man has reason and logic and hence the Logos of God has become incarnate in man. They cannot explain how Reason and Logic came from Matter, but the term generation signifies that their source is from Matter and not from nothing. The bangers must accept this on faith in order to establish the rest of their worldview.
For the bangers, Logic and Reason must be emergent properties; the result of material interactions. How this happens they do not know but by Reason and Logic, they know that the source of Reason and Logic, must be divine Matter as it is the source of all being.
Thus the Son reveals the Father.
The logical proof of the source of logic:
1. Matter is the creator of phenomena and the generator or source of all that exists.
2. Reason and Logic exist.
3. Matter is the source of Reason and Logic.
Hence no one can come to the Father except through the Son. The Logic of God, with its source in the Father, becomes incarnate in Man, to whom he reveals the Father by faith in the Son; faith in the ability of Logic and Reason to produce positive knowledge of the ‘true’ nature of reality outside of perception.
Because of the incarnation, we can know the creation (the phenomena) and its Creator, Matter. The incarnation of the Son of God lifts creation in to a new age of progress and liberty; the banishment of superstition and illusion; the twilight of the idols.
God the Holy Spirit: Holy Time.
As described above, for the bangers Matter must be timeless. Phenomena and all life occur in time. Without the Holy Spirit, there would be no life nor phenomena. Time is the source of life which has unfolded by the will of matter, through the logos of the Son, by the power of Holy Time.
The Big Bang: from the timeless singularity proceeds time. And so begins the evolution of the universe leading to life. God breathed the Holy Spirit into the nostrils of the man of clay and Holy Time made him a living soul. Holy Time proceeds from Holy Matter. Holy Time breathes the spirit of life, consciousness into the Universe via the pinnacle of creation, Man.
The God of the Bangers: The Holy Trinity.
God the Father – Holy Matter. The fount of the Godhead
God the Son – Holy Logic. The Logos of God. The Image of God. Begotten of Father Matter. He reveals the Father Matter to mankind.
God the Holy Spirit – Holy Time. Proceeds from Father Matter. All things are created through Holy Time. The animating force which is the power of Matter. Holy Time imbues the universe with life and guides the development of life.
To repeat myself, the aim of this piece is neither an apology for Christian theology, not for a materialist metaphysic. I am not trying to prove or disprove the existence of God, or other such things. My intent is simply to show the similarities between Christian theology and materialist metaphysics.
I’d now like to turn to quotation from Nietzsche with a little commentary from ‘The Academy of Ideas,”
“Nietzsche announces the death of god in a famous aphorism in his book The Gay Science, called The Madman. In this passage, he tells a tale of a madman who runs out onto the street screeching “I seek God! I seek God!” Understandably, those on the street give him a strange look and continue on with their evening, however, the madman does not cease.
“God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers…There was never a greater event,- and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history before this!” (The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche)
Despite the madman’s attempt to enlighten his fellow citizens regarding the enormity of the death of god, the individuals on the street pay little attention to him. When he noticed the utter indifference of those around him, “he threw his lantern on the ground so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished”.
“I come too early, I am not yet at the right time. This prodigious event is still on its way, and is travelling, – it has not reached men’s ears.”https://academyofideas.com/2012/11/nietzsche-and-the-death-of-god/
Having spent significant periods of my life as both a materialist and an Orthodox Christian, it is seems to me that modern materialism is a godless Christianity which cannot yet abandon God. (Nb. In this article I am not necessarily criticising nor supporting other forms of materialism. Personally, I lean heavily towards a form of idealism.)
Nietzsche’s parable is usually, and I think correctly, interpreted regarding morality. A typical interpretation might be: Progressivism seeks to keep Christian morality whilst having slain the source of its morality. They do not wish to abandon their beloved moral traditions – I came too early…it has not reached man’s ears – so they seek another metaphysical source, whilst believing that they deny metaphysics.
The same is true for the rest of their metaphysics. Many of them try to explain morality as an emergent phenomenon of matter, given life by Holy Time (e.g. Daniel Dennett, althought perhaps in different words.) This is a metaphysical inference as matter is outside of empirical data, although most materialists are unaware of this. If it is the source of consciousness then it can never be part of consciousness and hence we can never know it as it really is. Atoms, quarks etc. are not a part of our sense perception. They are the metaphysical map and not the terrain.
Metaphysical inferences such as matter may be useful in navigation but I do not accept matter as having a real existence. I also do not deny reality as I find it. As I type this post, I accept the table that I rest my arms on as being real, hard, smooth and existing. How could it be anything else? My feet are cold. My mouth is dry from smoking. The evensong of the sparrows is real and sounds sweet to my ears.
I am not saying that my table is almost entirely empty space and has no real solidity. No…the opposite! My table is solid. I simply do not accept the faith of underlying matter manifesting as atoms made up of ghostly subatomic particles. I have no experience of it, no one ever has, and no one ever will. It is not part of the world of perception. Underlying matter is a map, and a useful map in certain practical applications; but it is not the terrain. I do have experience of mind and consciousness in which I perceive phenomena, but this will be for a future article.
ShadowTiger has perceptively observed that the God of the bangers is Time. I would suggest that Time is one of the three entities of the Trinitarian God of the Bangers. God the Holy Matter, God the Holy Logic, and God the Holy Time.
NB. I really want to emphasise this point so no one gets scandalised by how I am representing the bangers’ use of logic and reason. For me, I simply see them as tools; the way that we create maps. I do not believe that they inform us of the true nature of the terrain. Hotness is the terrain; the model of the average velocity of matter as it interacts with our senses is the map/model. I also see logic and reason as the way that we defend ourselves from unhelpful maps. I am currently of the view that to believe that logic and reason can tell us any more about the terrain than was already in our perception could be a delusional and harmful belief. However, they may help us see the ramifications of our perceptions and if our beliefs about the world are consistent.
The bangers literally idolise reason and logic i.e they make it a god rather than a tool.
Conclusion to the Conclusion
Despite having killed God, the bangers are not yet ready to abandon their Christian morality. They are not yet ready to abandon Christian metaphysics and hence they live in a world of delusion and idolatry.
Nietzsche used the phrase, “The Twilight of the Idols.” Twilight is ‘the soft, diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon.” Despite the sun setting on Christian metaphysics, a reflected glow still shimmers…for how long?
But for those with eyes to see there was never a greater event:
“and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history before this!”Nietzsche: Quoted from https://academyofideas.com/2012/11/nietzsche-and-the-death-of-god/
Perhaps this is where sync comes in…or perhaps sync is one more false idol to turn man’s gaze away from the only true world, the world of phenomena.