DiaBlogue: Hell. Why Not?

First of all, let me apologize for not doing a better job of replying to Alan’s questions. I share his sense of frustration that we’re talking past each other, and agree that my last post probably pushed us even further in the wrong direction. Sorry ’bout that.

So, let me try to make amends by doing my best to respond to his Cheating a Dread Course. His prime point, which he (understandably) feels that I haven’t answered, is back in Bringing Back the Draft where he said:

I believe that it is fundamentally unjust to punish someone eternally for choices he makes based on uncertain, incomplete and seemingly contradictory or incoherent information, while being subject to imperfect rationality, having only a finite amount of time and while lacking any methodology, process or other means to overcome these limitations.

[Read more] for my attempt to answer that, as well as give some clue about why ontology, ethics, and coherency are all a factor (at least for me).

I appreciate Alan’s frustration with my lengthy detours into abstract (and largely unsolved!) problems in philosophy. So, let me try to start out with some (relatively 🙂 short assertions in support of my argument, and let Alan tell me which ones he wants to discuss in greater detail. I apologize in advance for the geeky terminology, but I wanted to put this in non-religious terms that Alan could (at least in principle) evaluate within his naturalistic assumptions.

1. I believe the material universe is not the only thing that is objectively real

2. In particular, there exist mathematical truths describing formal systems, and moral truths (“tao”) describing social systems, which are just as ontologically true or false — independent of human construction — as the physical laws governing material systems.

3. Because the physical universe is so nearly explicable by mathematical laws — and social systems are also amenable to formal, logical analysis — I assert that all such systems are contingent on a single, non-contingent principle we can label “Omega” (to avoid the linguistic baggage of “God”).

4. Further, I assert that the subjective experience of choice is in fact ontologically real, and — similar to Omega — represents an confluence of physics, information, and biology.

5. The accumulated choices of an individual are reflected in a non-deterministic field which, for convenience, we can label “psi”.

6. This field psi is equivalent to what we typically call “character”, and perhaps what religious folk call the “soul” or “spirit.”

7. I assert that since psi has a non-biological component, it can and does persist after death due to a coupling with the higher-order field represented by Omega.

8. However, due to the nature of Omega, non-biological instances of psi eventually decay into eigenstates that are either aligned, or anti-aligned, with Omega

9. But, because information can never truly be lost, they never dissipate entirely.

10. Finally, I assert that the state aligned with Omega is equivalent to “submission to God”, and thus Heaven, whereas the anti-aligned state is “rebellion against God”, i.e., Hell.

That is, every choice we make is in the context of _some_ aspect of ultimate reality, and the accumulated choices thus determine _our_ ultimate destiny — relative to that same reality.

Since this is probably pretty confusing, let me rephrase my argument using traditional terminology.
I believe:

a. Choice is real, not merely an illusion in a deterministic universe
b. Thus, choice is an aspect of a soul that transcends the physical universe
c. Being transcendent, that soul continues on indefinitely, even after biological death
d. Souls are subject to an immutable Moral Law, analogous to Physical Law
e. What we call “justice” is just one facet of that Moral Law, like electricity is to electroweak
f. In particular, justice implies ‘real’ consequences to the choices we make
g. Thus, the consequence of lifelong rebellion against God is necessarily eternal separation from God

To be clear, this doesn’t really defend my position so much as define it. What I’m hoping is that this will allow Alan to be explicit about which parts he finds:

* comprehensible 🙂
* internally consistent (or inconsistent)
* logically valid or invalid
* externally consistent with what he “knows” to be true
* externally consistent with his “personal” beliefs
* externally consistent with Christian orthodoxy

And even though I’m sure it raises more questions than it answers, hopefully they’ll at least be more useful questions. Right now, I’m not even clear whether Alan thinks:

* “choice” is real
* moral “tao” is objective vs. subjective
* mathematical reality exists independent of physical reality
* “anybody” ever deserves to be in “any” kind of Hell
so hopefully his response will at least give _me_ a more coherent picture of what he believes.

Fair enough, Alan?