Joined: Jan. 2006
There are a few Coyne lectures online here and there, I've watched 2 of them. His above remarks summed up the 2 lectures I watched and I assume he's just going to give another lecture essentially identical to the 2 I watched online.
Coyne is not really a catholic, he's essentially a disciple of Teilhard De Chardin. De Chardin was a priest whose books were banned by the church (I think) and he was pretty much demonized by the vatican. Still he has his followers, especially amongst the Jesuits. In fact the Jesuits celebrate De Chardin as one of their heroes the last time I checked out their website.
What De Chardin and Coyne (and others) are trying to do is reinvent christianity (I'm not a christian). De Chardin is famous for his Omega Point theology and Coyne seems to more or less parrot it. To De Chardin "God" and the "Universe" are "evolving" towards an apotheosis i.e the omega point. That philosophy has it's roots in Kabbalism and other esoteric philosophies.
What De Chardin and his disciples have been doing for many years is to try to do away with catholicism and replace it with their bizarre esoteric beliefs (The billion dollar Templeton foundation seems to be close with Coyne and has sponsored investigating Omega Point doctrine with Coyne and the catholic church in vatican city or elsewhere in Italy) . I am no fan of christianity but I do know what the theology and philosophy is and what it is not. These people see themselves as prophets who want to do away with traditional catholic and mainstream christian belief.
From the article:
"He stresses that the theory of Intelligent Design diminishes God into an engineer who designs systems rather than a lover."
This is typical of these types of "philosophers". To them god is more like "the force" in star wars theology then an actual thinking, willing, intellectual, single conscious entity. Why does seeing God as a scientist and builder/designer "diminish" God? It is not stated why a "loving" bystander view of God is more appreciative of God then seeing God as an interested active participant. It's just mindless nonsense (but spoken with a specific objective and purpose in mind). Coyne's vision of God is of a "loving" something or other. God "loves" but doesn't get involved. It's kind of like saying to your children "I love you, but I'm not really interested in dealing with your life except to send you good vibes. So don't expect any help in feeding yourselves or in paying the rent, I'm just about love. If I were to do anything to help you then that would diminish me"
To him a God who gives you life, a planet to live on, food to eat, etc, is less of a noble being then a God who does nothing but sit back and send you good vibes?
What Coyne is trying to do is change the personalist theological viewpoint of the catholic church and of christianity in general into an impersonalist theological viewpoint. His God doesn't do anything but send out good vibes. His God didn't set in motion evolution of species or the universe. According to his philosophy the universe and all life came about by a completely unguided "drive towards complexity", which is inherent within the matrix of the universe. His God is not really a thinking conscious intelligent entity. Rather it's a kind of universal "love" blob. His beliefs are somewhat similar to the Advaita Vedanta religion in India. Their concept of God is called Brahman. Brahman is an impersonal divine force of some unknowable ineffable variety e.g another "love" blob floating around.
The difference between Advaita Vedanta and Coyne and De Chardin is the idea of the evolving God/evolving universe towards an apotheosis in the future. The Advaita school has no such belief. They believe that Brahman is something which is beyond our comprehension until we reach enlightenment, and that the "world" is not evolving towards an apotheosis.
They believe people are evolving towards an apotheosis over many lives. Once reaching that apotheosis or "moksha" or "mukti", they teach that the individual soul will then realize his/her essential oneness with Brahman. At that stage the individual soul no longer indentifies with his body, his humaness, his identity as Mr. or Mrs Smith.
Upon elightenment they believe the soul leaves behind all tempory designations and conceptions and then merges or experiences the true eternal absolute oneness of the wholeness of eternal infinite divine joy which is self identification with the eternal divine Brahman.
Brahman is the totality, the unchanging infinite "divine" reality of the universe. After reaching that stage they believe that they willl transcend this world of mortality and attain to the same nature as Brahman. Essentially they view God as an impersonal divine force/substratum of the universe, and they see our souls or consciousness as being of the same nature as Brahman. In our illusioned state of consciousness we identify this temporary existence we experience as all there is to our existence. We identify with our bodies, our egos, our minds, our families, our nations, our species, our planet etc. They teach that the nature of the "material world" is that of constant change and suffering, contrasted to the nature of Brahman which is eternal, blissful, and changeless, like ourselves. Instead of their God being a love blob who is evolving along with the universe towards an apotheosis, they believe that God is a changeless love blob which is the supramundane underlying matrix of our existence which we are destined to merge into in some ineffable divine manner for an eternity of unending ananda or bliss.
I don't subscribe to Advaita Vedanta, nor Christianity. Coynes views are closer to Advaita Vedanta then Christianity, with the addition of a little Kabbala thrown in and a few other bits and pieces from the so called "western mystery schools".
Just a few thoughts
When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it's not, mmmmmmm, boy. Once my friend told me that he had found Jesus. I thought to myself, "WooHoo, we're rich!" It turns out he meant something different. -Jack Handey