Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thoughts while high above the surface of the Earth, All Saints, 2010

Listening to On Being: On Evolution and Fragility.

Interview with Xavier la Pichon. (cf essay, Ecce Homo) - geophysicist/scientist who was key in developing plate tectonic theory who is also a lifelong catholic who has lived in community at L'Arche with the disabled and their families/caregivers.

Link to podcast on iTunes:

In addition to his scientific research and discovery, he developed "a presence and awareness to suffering". Quitting all his academic and scientific positions in his late 30s to work with those suffering.

What separates human civilization distinct from other mammalian society in our treatment of the weak, ill, old and dying. We place them at the center, protecting, serving - not excluding or abandoning. This is our upward spiritual development as a species.

The Axial Age - 6th century BC with the emergence of key prophets such as Isaiah Lao Tsu and others who seem to be speaking to humanity at a critical juncture in evolutionary psychological development telling us that we are not what we see in nature or what we see among the worst of those among us. But we identify with the weak and broken and Suffering - that they are part of us.

God is moving and working in evolution to reveal his true design for humanity.

In response to the theodicy question, Pichon replies that he finds the question embarrassing and immature. God is utterly transparent and visible and the difficulty and pain in the world is completely understandable in the context of a loving parent seeking to mature her child to stand on her own.

Then listening to Speaking of Faith interview with Robert Wright ("The Logic of Nonzero" and "The Evolution of God").

Ideas about how our ideas of who God is evolves even within the context of Scripture and moreso in the moral evolution of humanity. Gods compassion seen in scripture is a reflection of what's happening in human civilization and development.

In observing these changes, we see something revelational taking place in human psychology and morality. Our ideas of God have evolved to be more and more moral - new ideas challenging the culture and society of that day and time and place moving them forward.

The confluence of these two thinkers - Pichon and Wright, one an orthodox Catholic the other a naturalistic agnostic - are encouraging and uplifting - both pointing, obviously unintentionally, to a reality larger than ourselves or our particular concerns but that "derives down" to imbue meaning and power in our individual existence and especially in those places and ways where we live in compassion, stand for justice, and seek to develop and support systems and institutions that advocate for the weak, the poor, the marginal and the suffering.


Steve said...

Great post. I hilighted it on my blog.

Jeff said...

Hey, thanks, Steve!