Philosophy is written in
this grand book - the universe, which stands continually open before
our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns
to comprehend the language and to read the alphabet in which it is
composed. It is written in the language of mathematics . . .
Galilei, p 238.
Welcome to natural theology
The Roman Catholic Church
This site is the log of a trip from 'Catholicism' to 'natural
Theology was once considered the keystone of the sciences. Its
position began to deteriorate with the scientific revolution that
began about 500 years ago. New mathematical, empirical and critical
methods both released and fed off the energy of industrialization.
The resulting explosion of scientific knowledge and industrial power
still engulfs us.
One of the few areas relatively untouched by
industrialization is traditional religious and theological belief.
The paradoxical result seems to have been a revival of the old
theologies within advanced industrial communities.
I was brought up amidst Roman Catholic theology, and so it is my natural
starting point. This theology embraces traditions many thousands of
years old. It emphasizes the vast difference between the eternal life
of God and our own lives. The Catholic God is omniscient, omnipotent,
infinite, etc, and the Church tells us that we live in a world
fatally flawed by original sin. This doctrine has very important
social, political and economic consequences.
Catholic theology is the fiction at the heart of a huge
corporation, the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), which has power over
the minds and actions of more than a billion people worldwide. Over two
thousand years, the RCC has developed and embellished a 'history of
salvation' which giving itself a central role in 'God's plan'.
The Church gained its power using this history, and strategies
ranging from war and occupation to promises of eternal salvation in
return for earthly obedience. My religious environment led me to
trust Catholic belief, and I set out to live it in a religious order, the Order of Preachers. I began to train for priesthood. I was convinced then that there is
no salvation outside the Church.
Life in the Order opened my eyes to a whole new world of knowledge,
which at first looked beautiful. Soon, however, it began to clash with science
I had learned at school. This conflict made me look around and
eventually come to questions like: why does God have to be so
different? Why can't the World be God? Why do we need the Church?
theology has answers, of course. Answers built on a strong
theoretical backbone that can be traced from the writings of
Aristotle and Plato through Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas and
Bernard Lonergan (and thousands of others) into the twentieth
Plato, Augustine, Works by Thomas Aquinas - Wikipedia, Lonergan.
This theoretical tradition confirms the Christian belief that God
is wholly other. I began to see, however, that everything depends on
your model of God; and that any model (eg the Bible) is a human
fiction which must be tested against reality before it can be
My questions struck at the heart of Catholic belief. The Roman Catholic Church is an
authoritarian institution that claims the right to control human
minds. It employs only true believers, so I was asked to leave the Order
our eyes to the 'book of nature'. This book assumed critical
importance for theological modelling when Darwin's Origin of
Species provided an explanation for our origins at least as
plausible as the Book of Genesis. Darwin, Genesis
Let us assume that for all practical purposes, God and our Universe are one and the
same, so that the book of nature is also the book of theology. That is to say, the Universe lives its own life and is not the product of some outside creator. What follows?
First, the radical revision of Catholic theology. Christianity is a mystery religion. There is no evidence for it, people must accept its claims on blind faith. On the other hand, if the Universe is divine theology can become a science in the modern sense of the word. Natural theology (think natural science) may consider every
thought, feeling, action or event in the whole Universe as revelation
from and of God. The data for natural theology are everything that happens, a vast treasury that outweighs countless ancient texts.
The Catholic Church (through its various agents) did a good job of inhibiting me, but I am slowly breaking free and letting my lust for life flow. This is unlikely to do too much damage in my aging condition, but I do feel a prophetic urge in me to propagate my theological idea now that it seems to me to be sound. An evidence based theology seems capable of yielding great benefits to peaceful human union and our collective power of survival by providing a firm foundation for our dealings with God (our Universe).
My revelation is that everything is revelation of God.
(revised 1 July 2016)
You may copy this material freely provided only that you quote fairly and provide a link (or reference) to your source.
Click on the "Amazon" link below each book entry to see details of a book (and possibly buy it!)
|Axelrod, Robert, The Evolution of Cooperation, Basic Books, Reised Edition 2006 'The Evolution of Cooperation provides valuable insights into the age-old question of whether unforced cooperation is ever possible. Widely praised and much-discussed, this classic book explores how cooperation can emerge in a world of self-seeking egoists-whether superpowers, businesses, or individuals-when there is no central authority to police their actions. The problem of cooperation is central to many different fields. Robert Axelrod recounts the famous computer tournaments in which the “cooperative” program Tit for Tat recorded its stunning victories, explains its application to a broad spectrum of subjects, and suggests how readers can both apply cooperative principles to their own lives and teach cooperative principles to others.'
|Cantor, Georg, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers (Translated, with Introduction and Notes by Philip E B Jourdain), Dover 1955 Jacket: 'One of the greatest mathematical classics of all time, this work established a new field of mathematics which was to be of incalculable importance in topology, number theory, analysis, theory of functions, etc, as well as the entire field of modern logic.'
|Cummins, Denise Dellarosa, and Colin Allen (editors), The Evolution of Mind, Oxford University Press 1998 Introduction: 'This book is an interdisciplinary endeavour, a collection of essays by ethologists, psychologists, anthropologists and philosophers united in the common goal of explaining cognition. . . . the chief challenge is to make evolutionary psychology into an experimental science. Several of the chapters in this volume describe experimental techniques and results consistent with this aim; our hope and intention is that they lead by example in the development of evolutionary psychology from the realm of speculation to that of established research program'
|Darwin, Charles, and Greg Suriano (editor), The Origin of Species, Gramercy 1998 Introduction: 'In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that each species has not been independently created, but has descended, like varieties, from other species.'
|Davis, Martin, Computability and Unsolvability, Dover 1982 Preface: 'This book is an introduction to the theory of computability and non-computability ususally referred to as the theory of recursive functions. The subject is concerned with the existence of purely mechanical procedures for solving problems. . . . The existence of absolutely unsolvable problems and the Goedel incompleteness theorem are among the results in the theory of computability that have philosophical significance.'
|Dirac, P A M, The Principles of Quantum Mechanics (4th ed), Oxford UP/Clarendon 1983 Jacket: '[this] is the standard work in the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, indispensible both to the advanced student and the mature research worker, who will always find it a fresh source of knowledge and stimulation.' (Nature)
|Galilei, Galileo, and Stillman Drake (translator), Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo: Including the Starry Messenger (1610 Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina), Doubleday Anchor 1957 Amazon: 'Although the introductory sections are a bit dated, this book contains some of the best translations available of Galileo's works in English. It includes a broad range of his theories (both those we recognize as "correct" and those in which he was "in error"). Both types indicate his creativity. The reproductions of his sketches of the moons of Jupiter (in "The Starry Messenger") are accurate enough to match to modern computer programs which show the positions of the moons for any date in history. The appendix with a chronological summary of Galileo's life is very useful in placing the readings in context.' A Reader.
|Jones, Alexander (ed), The Jerusalem Bible, Darton Longman and Todd 1966 Editor's Foreword: '. . . The Bible . . . is of its nature a written charter guaranteed (as Christians believe) by the Spirit of God, crystallised in antiquity, never to be changed . . . . This present volume is the English equivalent of [La Bible de Jerusalem] . . . an entirely faithful version of the ancient texts which, in doubntful points, preserves the text established and (for the most part) the interpretation adopted by the French scholars in the light of the most recent researches in the fields of history, archaeology and literary criticism.' (v-vi)
|Lonergan, Bernard J F, Insight : A Study of Human Understanding (Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan : Volume 3), University of Toronto Press 1992 '. . . Bernard Lonergan's masterwork. Its aim is nothing less than insight into insight itself, an understanding of understanding'
|Nicolis, G , and Ilya Prigogine, Self Organisation in Nonequilibrium Systems: From Dissipative Structures to Order through Fluctuations, Wiley Interscience 1977 General Introduction: 'The aim of the present monograph can ... be expressed as the studiy of self-organisation in non-equilibrium systems, characterised by the appearance of dissipative structures through the amplification of appropriate fluctuations. ... The natural approach to the problem of the emergence of new patterns is bifurcation theory. The purpose of this theory is to study the possible branching of solutions that may arise under certain conditions. We have tried to present a readable introduction to this rapidly expanding field ... Our main emphasis is in physical examples and simple but representative models, and our aim is to give the reader an idea of the variety of space-time structures that may arise through bifurcation. ... '
|Wiener, Norbert, Cybernetics or control and communication in the animal and the machine, MIT Press 1996 The classic founding text of cybernetics.
| Aristotle, The Internet Classic Archive | Aristotle, An archive of the works of Aristotle back |
| Augustine, Church Fathers: Home, Browse to Augustine of Hippo for a list of Augustine's works online. back |
| Genesis, The Book of Genesis, 'Genesis is the first book of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), the first section of the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures. Its title in English, “Genesis,” comes from the Greek of Gn 2:4, literally, “the book of the generation (genesis) of the heavens and earth.” Its title in the Jewish Scriptures is the opening Hebrew word, Bereshit, “in the beginning.”' back |
| Plato, The Internet Classics Archive | Works by Plato, An onine archive of the works of Plato back |
| Thomas Aquinas, Thomas de Aquino, Opera Omnia, Latin version: CORPUS THOMISTICUM
S. THOMAE DE AQUINO
recognovit ac instruxit Enrique Alarcón automato electronico
Pampilonae ad Universitatis Studiorum Navarrensis aedes a MM A.D. back |
| Works by Thomas Aquinas - Wikipedia, Works by Thomas Aquinas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 'The works of Thomas Aquinas are tremendous both in number and in philosophical and theological depth. Few philosophers or theologians have written so much of high quality in the amount of time used by St. Thomas: a little less than three decades.' back |