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Thread: The Eternalist

  1. #1 The Eternalist 
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    Where does the Eternalist now sit in the debate between science and religion? Aristotle has clearly had a great influence upon science, in fact many might argue that it was his methods of classification that helped to shape the way that all modern biology is now taught and understood. It took until the 17th century for our understanding of biology to actually start to improve upon the observations that Aristotle had made 2000 years earlier. He was surely a great thinker and so far ahead of his time in many respects.

    What is really interesting though about Aristotle is the way he saw the world around him and his beliefs about nature and religion. At a time when many Greeks were used to believing in many Gods, Aristotle believed in something far stranger and different than of a world shaped and ruled by a panthion of Gods, for Aristotle believed in Eternalism. When he looked around he did not see a world shaped by evolution, nature or Gods, what Aristotle saw was world unchanging where all the plant life and animal species had always existed.

    Today we might ask questions about how we come to be, some favour religious explantions such as we and everything we see around us has been created by an all powerful eternal being, indeed many many people around the do believe in a God of one religion or another. The most common religious belief is that of a single God that has created everything, monotheism, this type of belief being shared by followers of most of the worlds great religions.
    There are also the people that prefer a scientific explantion, ideas based on evidence, logic and or observation.

    What we no longer seem to have though is the Eternalist explantion, the idea that we simply might just have always been here. So why did the religious idea of creation survive and evolve for thousands of years whilst the idea of Eternalism seemingly die out?
    Was it that Eternalism was killed off by religion or science, with people prefering these explanations or could have been that Aristotle was simply wrong?

    Is there a place for a modern Eternalist? Like science and religion the concept of Eternalism has surely evolved over the centuries along with our knowledge and understanding. Perhaps unlike Aristotle a modern Eternalist might see the Universe as having always existed, some might suggest here though that is indeed leading towards a scientific explanation. But would that really be the case or could be perhaps when we look at religion's perspective that any explantions seem scientific when not endorsing religious doctrine.

    So where does that leave the concept of Eternalism, is it really in the relm of the scientific as a modern interpretation? Well possibly not, even though perhaps rejected by religion, as clearly it doesn't support any concept of creation, it is at heart about the idea of eternity and the only other place we can really find this idea is from the religious concept of God, the eternal being.

    So where would this all leave our Eternalist Aristotle if he were alive today, would he swayed by passion towards science and learning the way things work, or would he just perhaps alter the scale of his Eternalist views to match our modern day understanding of the universe? Where would Aristotle himself think that Eternalism sits in relation to either science or religion?


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    I think you'd have to leave some wiggle-room for what would pass off as a contemporary Eternalist. I think that, like any other range of beliefs, you could consider a variety of beliefs to have some of the sensibilities of Eternalism - affording certain developments. To me, a modern Eternalist could simply be somebody that is spiritual (in the colloquial sense). Like New Age or whatever. Maybe even Rastafarianism.


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    Quote Originally Posted by stander-j View Post
    I think you'd have to leave some wiggle-room for what would pass off as a contemporary Eternalist. I think that, like any other range of beliefs, you could consider a variety of beliefs to have some of the sensibilities of Eternalism - affording certain developments. To me, a modern Eternalist could simply be somebody that is spiritual (in the colloquial sense). Like New Age or whatever. Maybe even Rastafarianism.
    So then maybe it might be the case that what Aristotle may have thought of as Eternalism may indeed still be with us today, but in perhaps slighly less recognisable forms within other philosophies. This might suggest a stonger connection towards religious thinking than scientific explanations. This being said I'm still not sure that if Aristotle were alive today he would be really be all that comfortable with having his view of things as being more towards the religious than the scientific.

    But then perhaps it might also be fair to suggest that Eternalism must surely evolve along with our scientific understanding in way that perhaps most of the major religions simply cannot. Which would begin to push it back towards the relm of scientific understanding.

    So it would seem that really to understand a contemporary vision or indeed that which Aristotle himself believed in so many centuries ago requires treading between the lines of science and religion and for many this is not an easy thing to understand or do.
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