Sunday, February 10, 2013

If the World Is Getting Better, Isn't It Simpler to Think That God is Helping?

I believe the world is getting better.  The material evidence is all around us, as I have written before.

I believe that God guides the general direction of the world with a providential hand.

Most of the writers who share my belief that the world is getting better seem to atheists who believe in naturalistic evolution. 

If you are a naturalistic evolutionist who does not believe the world is getting better, then you have no problem - species simply adapt to whatever the environment happens to be at the moment, without direction or meaning.  The world is neither getting better nor getting worse, because there is no naturalistic meaning to those terms when applied to all existence. Evolution is simply change over time.

But naturalistic evolutionists who do believe in progress have to go through some elaborate twists to explain both why our evolutionary practice seems to show a positive design without a designer, and how we keep progressing even though our evolved psychology is pessimistic.

It seems to me that theistic evolution is a simpler account of how a species designed for both hope and fear, designed for pessimistic assumptions but optimistic actions, can in fact achieve such progress.

I don't have an elaborate philosophical argument here.  I just think that people who see that the world is improving through the amazing collective action of creative humans are halfway to seeing that we are meant for this by a Creator.


infidel said...

But there is always the problem of pain.Why does God stand by and watch the innocent suffer.

Sr Edith said...

Thank you for this reflection.

The problem of pain is a tough one if we take as premise that physical well-being on this earth is the highest good, and pain its antithesis. That's an assumption not shared by Christians. Even philosophically, most people look back at many times of trial and see in them great community, teamwork, love for others. Some soldiers miss the deep bonding of the battlefield even as they are glad to be home and safer. We don't appreciate things nearly as much when they come easily as when they cost toil and tears. So the existence of "pain" is not itself necessarily a problem.

The Holocaust, cancer, tsunamis, fires, senseless killing in schools -- these do have innocent victims. Some of these are acts of evil -- free human will gone awry -- but some are just inexplicable.

Still: the perspective about the direction of change, overall, is worth thinking about.

infidel said...

Inexplicable, is a weak answer for evil. I am a practicing Roman Catholic.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]Anything Else Gotten Better?

•Sex discrimination
•Race discrimination
•Sexual-orientation discrimination
•Handicap discrimination
•Imperial control of colonized people
•Totalitarianism and authoritarianism
Is that all you’ve got?

Where does evidence of the increased ORGANIC COMPETENCIES among the "Least Of These" who entrusted their hopes for development into a "progressive system of governance" fit into your array of measures?

If the "advancements" that you speak of take place inside of a system of $16T fiat debt and one day the people are moved out to be exposed - would any of these gains be retained?