Nick-A, thank you for that wonderfull painting I'll probably use it as a screen saver. I notice it has a cross in it and I wonder if this indicates some predisposition on the part of the observer or if it just happened to be there.
I don't really think we want to discuss Darwin Vs inteligent design. I have already decided that inteligent design is not for me, so in that sense you are right about me being closed minded.
Do not assume that I have not seen the wonder of nature or appreciated beauty, religion, and art with an open mind. Nor should you think that I will infer God from creation. I see a reasonable argument that matter exists so it must have come from somewhere i.e. creator, but thats as close as I can get. I have studied and searched many years for God, and I ultimately found that god was just a concept in my head. If He is real to you then great; I'm happy for you, but I feel happy, complete, and free now, so I hope you can be happy for me to.
I do not assume that you have closed your mind to the possibility that God is an extension of your imagination. If you have though, and your faith rejects this thought, I still appreciate your views and this conversation.
Knowing church as I do, I believe the cross is intentional. I do not believe in the Hebrew personal God. Actually IMO one of the reasons for the quick devolution of Christianity into Christendom was having this personal God imposed on it from Jewish nationalism. Christianity was a religion that featured abandoning power for the greater good. Because of this personal God of power and Rome's adoption of Christianity as its religion, Christianity that was about abandoning earthly power became its opposite and a religion of power which Kierkegaard rightfully called Christendom.
I take the Simone Weil approach to God:
"God could only create by hiding himself. Otherwise there would be nothing but himself."
In her usual profound laconic fashion, she expresses a very ancient idea which depicts why God is outside time and space and God's will expressed in creation through universal laws are within time and space. God being outside time and space doesn't deny levels of lesser consciousness within time and space. If this is true then it is only natural for the greater consciousness to help the lesser in its conscious evolution.
I don't know if there has ever been another incident of two complimentary geniuses growing up in the same home. Where Simone's genius was well described by T. S. Eliot as that of a saint. She could put science into a greater transcendent perspective. Her brother andre was a math genius. At sixteen in France, educators were at a loss of what to do with him since he knew more than the professors in universities. He and Simone were very close since probably they could understand things about each other no one else could. When she was twelve and he was fifteen, they used to argue Greek philosophy in the ancient Greek language they learned by themselves. Being Jewish, the family escaped to America to escape persecution and he finally wound up in the same think tank in Princeton University and a peer of Einstein. So this math genius wrote:
"God exists since mathematics is consistent, and the Devil exists since we cannot prove it."
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).
He is using God and the Devil here as concepts. It is kind of hard to argue the basics of it. Math has this logic to it yet at some point even those at the level of Andre Weil come up against problems (Devil) that struggle against our understanding.
I agree the personal God would be an extension of our imagination but when people like Andre Weil and Einstein experience this deep logic that is not at all chaotic, I have to believe the laws are there which means that objective meaning and wisdom are also there.
So really I don't see any major disagreement between us and even if there were, it is not my business to be critical. I have a hard enough time trying to understand and it would be ludicrous for my idiocy to attack anyone. So we respect each other as two ships passing in the night talking about life and sharing some cocktails.