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Please pardon me about that I'm concealing my religious background to prevent a flame-war.

Though I've never lost my faith, the faith has been changing for recent times. For now, I seem to be believing in multiple gods. Infinitely many, in fact. An apeirotheist if I were to coin a term.

Who are those gods? Well, some are metaphysical, and some are physical.

The metaphysical gods I believe in are mathematical concepts, prominently axioms. As the Axiom of Choice is prominently accepted by mathematicians, I'd say it's the all-father I believe in. Though, it has its own negation as its arch-enemy. My idea is that, we will test which axiom holds in our physical universe and decide who's "good" and who's "evil".

Computer science presents me some metaphysical gods as well. An example is the Busy Beaver, an uncomputable function.

The "physical" gods, though they're not physical objects, they pose some theistic aspects to our physical universe. One prominent example is the uncertainty of quantum objects. "God's dice" to put simply.

Generally, all physical laws can be treated as gods. Though it's science so our understanding of physics can always change, there are certainly what are serving as "true" physical laws.

Biology poses some gods as well, and those decide what's moral and what's not. Natural Selection is one example, and it poses some moral aspects such as "all living beings are precious" and "go forth and multiply".

However, as seen as whole, these gods don't seem to have a unified notion about what does it mean to believe in them. It seems that to believe in axioms is to trust them as absolute truths, and to believe in biological gods is to acknowledge and obey their moral consequences. I cannot figure out what does it mean to believe in the Busy Beaver or the quantum dice. I could believe that the quantum dice will have outcomes beneficial to me, but that doesn't seem to be a good faith.

Is there a unified idea about my faith, or is my faith just multiple different and independent ideas?

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    Seems to me you're just pointing at a bunch of things that are not gods and call them "gods".
    – armand
    Mar 22, 2023 at 10:14
  • @armand Well, pardon me, but this is how my faith has become, for now. Mar 22, 2023 at 10:15
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    @zero Well, technically, yes. But not to other people, for now. Mar 22, 2023 at 10:24
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    How has your life changed now that you call the laws of physics "gods" ? What do those god expect of you in terms of morale? If they are not personal and expect nothing of you, how is your faith anything more than just pointless semantic games? No disrespect, I am just trying to understand.
    – armand
    Mar 22, 2023 at 10:35
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    I'm a pantheist but I'm not a "frying pan" theist.
    – Boba Fit
    Mar 22, 2023 at 13:07

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You are not describing pantheism; all you are doing is describing a fairly conventional world view and applying the term "god" incorrectly to a scattered set of non-gods in that world view. What it is to believe in those non-gods has different answers for different kinds of things (for example, mathematical axioms vs. laws of nature), and these are all longstanding epistemological questions.

A god is a person. It has goals, intentions. It is able to understand. Not just anything you are impressed by is properly called a god.

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  • Yes. My reply was going to be that we can reduce the universe to 2 principles that control everything else: gravity and evolution. Gravity causes stars to form, and supernovas, which create the stuff everything is made of. Evolution gives rise to life. Nothing else comes anywhere close in importance. Those are the two faces of God, by any sane definition. All-powerful, eternal, omnipresent... You could reasonably say all-knowing. Done.
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 22, 2023 at 22:43
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It may be useful here to address the relation between belief and truth. A good example of this distinction are axioms, which by definition are unfalsifiable starting points and so can never be said to be absolutely true. For example, asking whether the parallel postulate is an incoherent question, since accepting or rejecting the postulate merely leads you into Euclidean or non-Euclidean geometry, neither of which are more "right." However, we can nonetheless believe in axioms. One example is fideism, which takes "God exists" as a basic belief not requiring rational justification. In fact, fideist epistemology would support a belief in God even if there were some method that gave rational disproof of God.

Looking at something like the laws of physics, we can distinguish between the theory of these laws and their practical application in the world. For example, if we suddenly found that F=ma did not apply to the real world, we could still treat with it metaphysically and integrate it into internally consistent systems of physics, although they would not apply to the real world. F=ma would and does exist as an axiom, not true or false per se but only applicable to the real world or not applicable to the real world. In this way, we can abstract all laws and theories of the natural sciences and treat with them as metaphysical axioms, existing in the special case of being applicable to the real world. I could believe in F=ma and take it as an axiom of a system of physics.

Now, just as it is possible to believe in a conventional god as an axiom, it should be possible to believe in concepts like natural selection as axioms. You noted that you might think of natural selection as a normative imperative rather than just a descriptive theory, so that offers one meaning of belief. Or belief could simply mean trusting that natural selection is true without reliance on rationalist or empiricist justifications of it. In the latter formulation, we can reconcile facts in the natural sciences with metaphysical axioms, by abstracting the natural science facts into their metaphysical axiom form.

As you noted, one could still compare these metaphysical axioms to the real world to make moral judgements on them, or whatever you want to do with them. The key here is that we can create a unified form of belief by abstracting scientific principles into metaphysical forms that do not depend on reality.

A god certainly does not have to be a person or anthropomorphic and an examination of religion across the world will show that divinity does not always have to coalesce into a vaguely anthropomorphic mold.

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  • So, we can't actually get to the searing griddle of the truth, the closest we can go is a Leidenfrost layer of axioms.
    – Scott Rowe
    Mar 23, 2023 at 11:09

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